A Sleepless Eye
Aphorisms from the Sahara
Translated from the Arabic by Roger Allen
"These aphorisms are the unadorned poetry of deep meditation, the distilled wisdom of long communion with desert, sea, and wind. Here is the Gospel of environmentalism according to al-Koni, rendered in chaste English that diminishes none of its luster."—Waïl S. Hassan, Comparative and World Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"A breathtaking distillation of the poetic and philosophic sensibility that
makes al-Koni’s work as a whole so original."—Shawkat M. Toorawa, Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University
Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent
his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was twelve.
He studied comparative literature at the Gorky Institute in Moscow. He is the author of
over eighty volumes, including novels, stories, and aphorisms, and has been translated
into thirty-five languages.
Roger Allen is Sascha Jane Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative
Ethics, School of Arts and Sciences, professor of Arabic and comparative literature,
and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University
Book Description »[Hide Description »]
The Libyan landscape is one of the most diverse and breathtaking, replete
with barren deserts, vast ocean coasts, and a stunning display of earth’s
elements. Al-Koni, an award-winning and critically acclaimed Arabic
writer, reflects on this fragile environment and the increasing threats to its
existence in A Sleepless Eye, a collection of the poet’s desert wisdom. He
highlights the relationships between humans and Libya’s natural features,
grouping them by theme: nature, desert, water, sea, wind, rock, trees,
and fire. Each theme contains a set of aphorisms that deliver thoughtful
perspectives on what it means to coexist with an evolving planet.
This volume is the result of the author’s collaboration with the celebrated
French nature photographer, Alain Sèbe, and English translator Allen.
The product is a body of work that calls upon readers to question their
relationship with the earth through meditative ideas and photos, familiarizing
English readers with the fundamental philosophies of environmental
stewardship that transcend all boundaries.
View other series books in Middle East Literature in Translation
5 x 8, 112 pages, 32 color illustrations