My Book reviews /

The Trench

Title The Trench
Authors Abdelrahman Munif
Publisher Vintage
Date 1993-08-10
Pages 560
ISBN 0679745335

It might be forgivable for a beginner novelist to write book which is so long but totally lacks any development of characters. But to claim that this book series be “highly acclaimed” would be a big stretch.

Indeed, book sets the stage in a city of Mooran, and within 560 pages fails to move elsewhere, except brief mentioning of trips to the US or Mecca. All right, even in static circumstances the author could have thought of some events, maybe court intrigues, love affairs, assassinations, etc. - the kind of things our life has plenty of. Instead, the author describes a bunch of self-sufficient people who just happened to be close friends of Sultan, and these people simply waste the lives as time goes by. Well, by “wasting” I mean that they build palaces, buy luxury cars, and some of them even create philosophical theories. Maybe this is indeed what happens in Arab world, which I am not very familiar with, but politics in the US and Europe is much more dynamic, nowadays as well as before.

So, the author presents those rulers as totally uninteresting, boring people. All right, if that is the case, why spend 500+ pages describing them? Sometimes, I have impression that the author was paid on per-page basis, so he was simply working as “typewriter” - just type what comes up to your head, and God will sort it out…