Treat Your Shelf: Divine Names – Luay Abdul-ilah

This week you should treat your shelf with a novel published by Leeds’ very own Mira Publishing House. If you are looking for a book to read over the holidays that has a little more substance than the average holiday read then why not give Divine Names a try.

Written by Luay Abdul-ilah, Divine Names is a modern tale regarding  the possibilities of being. The novel was originally published in Arabic under a different title: Comedy of Divine Love. It tells the story of a group of Iraqi expats in the 1950’s living in London and how their lives link and intertwine. As a result, you get four books in one with characters whose lives have been turned upside down.

For the characters in this novel, Iraq, or at least the abstract idea of an idealised and stylised Iraq, is what keeps them alive; while the reality of Iraq kills them, in both physical and spiritual terms. Abdulilah manages to capture complex human emotions throughout the book exploring guilt, anxiety and nostalgia. The to-ing and fro-ing between moments in time, characters and narratives is bound to keep your attention.

Mira Publishing House is a Leeds based publisher who promote an international understanding through the translation and publishing of a variety of literatures from all over the world, they should certainly be on your radar.

Image Credit: Kaeros-stock