Silken Gazelles

Silken Gazelles

A Novel

Written by: Alharthi, Jokha
Translated by: Booth, Marilyn

An unforgettable story of friendship, love, and the impact of childhood from the first Arabic-language winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

Raised as sisters, Ghazaala is devastated when her friend Asiya is forced to leave their small, mountainside village following a tragic circumstance. It’s a separation that haunts her into adulthood, and she never gives up on finding a love that might replace the bond they shared.

Ghazaala soon falls for a young violinist, despite her parents’ opposition. His position in the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra brings the young couple to Muscat, where Ghazaala enrolls in university while balancing the duties of a new wife, caring for her husband, their home, and before long, their twin boys.

During this time, Ghazaala grows close to Harir, who recounts the story of their deepening friendship over ten years in the pages of her diary. The elusive, ghostly existence of Asiya exerts a force over both of their lives, yet neither Ghazaala nor Harir are aware of the connection. From the brilliant mind of Jokha Alharthi comes a tale of childhood friendship, and how its significance—and loss—can be recalibrated at different stages of life.

An unforgettable story of friendship, love, and the impact of childhood from the first Arabic-language winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

Raised as sisters, Ghazaala is devastated when her friend Asiya is forced to leave their small, mountainside village following a tragic circumstance. It’s a separation that haunts her into adulthood, and she never gives up on finding a love that might replace the bond they shared.

Ghazaala soon falls for a young violinist, despite her parents’ opposition. His position in the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra brings the young couple to Muscat, where Ghazaala enrolls in university while balancing the duties of a new wife, caring for her husband, their home, and before long, their twin boys.

During this time, Ghazaala grows close to Harir, who recounts the story of their deepening friendship over ten years in the pages of her diary. The elusive, ghostly existence of Asiya exerts a force over both of their lives, yet neither Ghazaala nor Harir are aware of the connection. From the brilliant mind of Jokha Alharthi comes a tale of childhood friendship, and how its significance—and loss—can be recalibrated at different stages of life.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Aug 13, 2024
Specifications 272 pages | 5.25 in x 8 in
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Excerpt
Written By

JOKHA ALHARTHI is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English. Her previous novel, Celestial Bodies, was the first book translated from the Arabic to win the International Booker Prize (formerly known as the Man Booker International Prize). Alharthi is the author of three previous collections of short fiction, three children’s books, and three novels in Arabic. Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree) received the Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Art, and Literature. She completed a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.

Written By

JOKHA ALHARTHI is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English. Her previous novel, Celestial Bodies, was the first book translated from the Arabic to win the International Booker Prize (formerly known as the Man Booker International Prize). Alharthi is the author of three previous collections of short fiction, three children’s books, and three novels in Arabic. Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree) received the Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Art, and Literature. She completed a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.


"From the first page, Silken Gazelles is a lush, shimmering portrait of a small community in the mountains of Oman, filled with women who love and care for one another, who fight for their dreams, and whose desire for independence and passion charts their course through the world far from their village. Two girls raised as sisters are separated by a series of tragedies, and forever they seek each other, the bonds of childhood forever etched in memory. The women in this novel are unforgettable, and I can't stop thinking of them. Jokha Alharthi is among my favorite novelists—and this book is transcendent." — Susan Straight, author of Mecca and In the Country of Women

” —Susan Straight, author of Mecca and In the Country of Women