The dove’s necklace
By Raja Alem
Published by Overlook Duckworth
Translated by Katharine Halls and Adam Talib
Price £19.99 hardback
The winner of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, translated into English 2016
When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca’s many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. As we follow the investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed. Tackling powerful issues with beautiful and evocative writing, Raja Alem reveals a city and a civilisation at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning (uneasily) with new traditions. Told from a variety of perspectives including that of Abu Al Roos itself. The Dove’s Necklace is a virtuosic work of literature, and an ambitious portrait of a changing city that deserves our attention.