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A Novel Reality - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was quite unexpected how the Saudi Arabians suddenly became the talk of the town. Saudi songs, television series, sports matches and books have come to engross Arab audiences for a number of different reasons.

On a literary level, a large collection of novels has been published, some of which are compelling while others are substandard. However, a considerable amount of these publications has achieved wide circulation, facilitating their accessibility to a broad range of audiences. It is common knowledge that one of the most prominent reasons behind this dissemination is that many of these works of fiction have tackled numerous taboos  some writers have exhibited an ingenuity in handling such issues, while others did not quite succeed as well.

Presently, markets are preparing to receive a new work of fiction that is expected to venture into thorny terrain and highly sensitive issues. The author of this anticipated novel is Mufid al Nuwesir, who is a young Saudi journalist and a bold writer with a distinctive style. His novel is entitled ‘Al Aam wal Wad’ (Uncle and Son) and its story is set among the different social backgrounds and classes of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi society is never about black and white, a fact that the novel eloquently and realistically conveys. It is expected that many will ‘denounce’ and ‘condemn’ this novel  most likely those who live and thrive on denial. However, there will be others who will feel anguish and shame at what the novel presents, which they wish could have remained undisclosed. But there will also be some who will be impressed with its daring approach and the manner in which it broaches the problems and puts them on the table, which invites suggestions towards remedying these issues.

There is a substantial amount of customs, norms and values, which through time have transformed into becoming holy values. Such values have become immersed in myths that have reinforced their existence and solidified them despite the huge damage they inflict on these societies.

Generally speaking, successful creative works that attain a wide readership usually will have struck a chord or touched upon an old wound in the hearts and minds of the readers. And yet, there will always remain an apprehension over translating these feelings and misgivings into something tangible that can benefit the largest possible number of people on a social level. Still, such efforts remain a new stone thrown into the lake of social worries that needs to break out of its stagnancy.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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