Nadaness In Motion is the book blog owned by Nada Adel Sobhi and it is where honest book reviews meet author interviews, guest posts, and personal writing ranging from poetry to short stories alongside the Takhayyal/Imagine writing prompt challenge. ---
“You cannot kill a breeze, a wind, a fragrance; you cannot kill a dream or an ambition.” - Michel Onfray
Al-Tameema – or
as I would translate it “The Amulet” – is a novella by the renowned police
story writer Nabil Farouk, who has published nearly 150 books – as I came to
realise. The novella took me around a week to finish (since I had to skip a
couple of days). It is easy and different.
Amulet is the first science fiction novella I have read in Arabic
(stories read at school excluded), and I am aware that there many Egyptian and
Arab writers experimenting with the sci-fi genre in Arabic.
novella revolves around an amulet that travels across history and the globe; we
see it with people in the Ice Age, Moses and the Pharaoh, Cleopatra, King
Richard the Lion Heart in Jerusalem, the British invasion in Egypt and finally
it arrives to our present time. Its present owner is a girl named Zainab, who
works as a doctor, and who has inherited the amulet from her mother, who in
turn has inherited from her mother (that is, Zainab’s grandmother).
amulet is said to protect whoever wears it from harm. The writer gives several
examples of its protection throughout the first chapters and then in the middle
of the novella.
the amulet arrives to our present time, a struggle begins as to who can possess
it, use it, and unleash its power. People also begin to hope that discovering
the secrets this amulet holds would earn them millions and billions of pounds
or a Nobel Prize.
Amulet is a fairly interesting novella, with a different ending
when compared to other sci-fi novels. Its opening chapters are short and very
enjoyable. Afterwards, the pace slows down as we reach our present time and
many parties begin to seek out the amulet and understand how it works and what
other secrets it holds.
amulet protects the person wearing it through a monstrous beast – described
towards the end – that is seen by everyone except the person wearing the
amulet. We later learn that the amulet protects its wearer only because it aims
to protect itself.
reading the novella, I noticed how – at first at least – the amulet tended to
fall into the hands of rulers and important people, and this reminded me of The
One Ring from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
given this novella a three-star rating onwww.goodreads.comfor several reasons. First, I was waiting to be ‘wowed’. Second, there were so
many irritating bits with the language and the style of the writer that just
turned me off. I ended up crossing out the bits I found unnecessary throughout the
novella. I cannot go into detail here for it is an Arabic novella and many of
the bits relate to Arabic structure, grammar and writing. As far as I know, the
novella has not yet been translated into English. I sincerely hope, though,
that the downsides in the Arabic would be omitted or at least lessened in the
the things that bothered me was the writer’s use excessive use of commas.
Arabic, unlike English, does not use commas often; it prefers the conjunction
letter ‘wa’ meaning ‘and’. The writer uses a comma almost every other word or
few words, which is both odd and annoying. Moreover, he uses some words or
structures that are unfamiliar or that pertain to the spoken Arabic rather than
the High Arabic used in this novella. Another thing that bothered me was that
the writer often repeats the same image for the same situation in successive
pages, which shows an obvious lack in creativity. An image that the reader
would find intriguing would lose its glamour on the next page when it is
repeated as copy/paste for the same situation.
but not least, the writer uses the verb “mumble” extensively as if there were
no other verbs in the Arabic language. And I do not think a character can
‘mumble’ for four successive lines!
Farouk’s The Amulet is an interesting sci-fi that is worth the read. It will
not wow you but you will have bits of fun. It is interesting to discover where
this amulet came from and why it was made in the first place, which makes the
detailed Arabic review of Al-Tameema (The Amulet), please click on the