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In The Thousand and One Nights it is Shahrazad's sister, Dinarzad, who each night asks for a story. This collection of twenty-four modern tales by eighteen authors offers up a mix of previously published and new works, creating a literary road map to Arab American literature today.
Here authors of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Libyan descent, some with established reputations, others new young writers, tell tales about Muslims and Christians, recent immigrants and fully assimilated Americans, teenagers and grandmothers, guerillas and peaceniks, professors, housewives, grocers, bookies, those who long for their homeland, and those who refuse to speak Arabic. A number of the stories center on conflicts between immigrants and their American-born children. Others wrestle openly with topics such as in-group stereotyping, domestic violence, familial discord, and other difficult issues. But what sets this literature apart from other ethnic literatures is its tendency to keep an eye on the overseas political situation. By turns sassy or lyrical, biting or humorous, always moving, the stories in this collection are good reading and an important contribution to the body of ethnic American literature.