‘Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge’ and Crafting 9/11 Supporters That Aren’t Caricatures

Arabic Literature (in English)

Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge is a novel that courts controversy, and Ezzedine Choukri Fishere is a novelist who isn’t afraid to engage unlikable — or even despicable — characters:

The novelist Ezzedine C. Fishere isn’t afraid to put a toe into taboo territory. Or a foot. Or, in the case of Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge, Fishere throws an entire character—Daoud—into the taboo territories of 9/11.

Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge, shortlisted for the 2012 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, is now in muscular English translation by John Peate. The book unfolds in eight interlocking stories, voiced by eight people related by blood, love, chance, and hate. All are supposed to attend the twenty-first birthday party of a girl who won’t be there, hosted by a man many of them dread seeing.

As the novel opens, we’re with the eminent, overweening Professor Darwish, who is sure that he knows what’s best…

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