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Reading and Writing in Al-Masarrat Wa'L-Awjā by Fu'Ād Al-Takarlī

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In Fu'ād al-Takarlī's first novel, Basqa fī wajh al-hayāt (Cologne 2000, but written 1948), and more particularly in his latest novel, al-Masarrāt wa'l-awjā' (Damascus 1998), there are many allusions to the acts of reading and writing. This meta fictional element re flects a tension present in al-Takarlī's work between a genuine scepticism about the value of fiction and a profound belief in its importance, particularly in the context of modern Iraq. Al-Takarlī's recurrent questioning of the processes of fiction, and his varied dramatisations of the reader's contribution to making the text, link him to other post-Mahfuzian writers, while the subversive attitudes underlying his meta fiction are distinctive.

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