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MAMA HISSA’S MICE

Saud Alsanousi

  • Original Title: MAMA HISSA’S MICE
  • Publication date: February 2015
  • Publisher: ASP/DIFAF
  • Country: KW
  • 440 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century, 21st century
  • Location setting: Kuwait
  • Themes: FAMILY, Intergenerational, PEOPLE facing life, Coming of age, Looking back on one's life, Facing failure, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, Fanaticism, War and other conflicts, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Solidarity, Multiculturalism, Commitment, Friendship, Accepting differences, Intolerance

Pitch

A group of three friends of different ethnic origins and religious denominations struggle to survive in a divided Kuwait. Through the experiences of four generations, we discover the psychological effect of wars in the Middle East, and how they change people’s relationships.

Comments

Translation rights sold: UK

Presented with the Contribution to Literature Award in Riyadh by the Gulf Corporation Council in October 2016
Longlisted for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2017
Author voted one of the most influential thinkers in the Arab World

The novel is a huge bestseller in Arabic.

Saud Alsanousi is a Kuwaiti novelist and journalist. His debut novel SIJEEN AL-MARAYA (Prisoner of Mirrors, 2010) won the Leila Othman Prize. In 2011, his short story THE BONSAI AND THE OLD MAN won a competition organized by Al-Arabi magazine and BBC Arabic. His novel SAQ AL-BAMBOO (The Bamboo Stalk) won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (2013).

Summary

The events of this novel take place from Khomeini's revolution against the Shah of Iran in 1979, through the eight year Iran-Iraq war and the Iraq-Kuwait war, and ending with an imaginary civil war in Kuwait, in 2020. It follows the lives of three boys who are neighbours, but from different ethnic origins and religious denominations. One of them, the narrator, tells the story of their friendship and living side by side in the three houses in their old street, and how this story ends horribly 42 years later because of sectarian differences which lead to civil war. The events reflect present day reality in the Middle East, where wars are now fought in the name of religion and sect. Four Kuwaiti generations: the grandmothers, the fathers, the grandchildren and the children of the grandchildren. The first, from the era of mud houses before oil, is simple and tolerant. The second raises the banner of Arab nationalism and regards the West with hostility. The third - that of the three boys - regards the West, and America in particular, as its saviour, after Western powers led the war to liberate Kuwait in 1991. The last generation lives in an imaginary period in the future and is completely lost. Through the experiences of these four generations, we discover the psychological effect of wars in the Middle East, and how they change people’s thinking, behaviour and relationships. The novel's main events are punctuated by stories of love and friendship which bring the heroes of the story together despite their religious differences.

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  • Author’s biography

    Saud Alsanousi (born 1981) is a Kuwaiti novelist and journalist. His debut novel SIJEEN AL-MARAYA (Prisoner of Mirrors, 2010) won the Leila Othman Prize. In 2011, his short story THE BONSAI AND THE OLD MAN won a competition organized by Al-Arabi magazine and BBC Arabic. His novel SAQ AL-BAMBOO (The Bamboo Stalk) won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (2013). His novel MAMA HISSA’S MICE is a huge bestseller in Arabic. He also writes for the Al-Qabas newspaper.