“The cruel, mysterious, savage desert with all its surprises, transcends the normal laws of nature simply in order to corroborate them.”
—Excerpt from Endings, by ‘Abd al-Rahman Munif
A revised English translation of famed Saudi writer 'Abd al-Rahman Munif's original 1977 work in Arabic, this masterfull novel is set in al-Tiba, an ambiguous village on the edge of modernity but mired in nostalgia. The desert quickly emerges as the story's cruel villain, withholding rain even as village elders are taunted by memories of prior abundance. Leaders from the nearest city have promised a dam that will provide electricity, irrigation and insurance against nature's vicissitudes, but the project remains unrealized. As drought brings simmering tensions to the surface, an unlikely hero steps up: 'Assaf, the village's ridiculed eccentric, pricks the people's conscience with his connection to the land, conservation ethic and skill in hunting, a pastime of newfound importance. A moment of catharsis forces al-Tiba's people to reckon with their blithe lack of preparation, and an outpouring of stories from their collective past galvanizes them toward a shared future.