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Kuwaiti wins Arab Booker for novel on migrant workers
AFP – Kuwaiti writer Saud al-Sanaussi has won the Arab version of the Man Booker Prize for a novel focusing on the situation of migrant workers in the Gulf. “The Bamboo Trunk” explores the difficulties facing Asians in the oil-rich region through the story of Jose, a young man rejected.
Book synopsis from Arab Fiction:
Josephine comes to Kuwait from the Philippines to work as a household servant, leaving behind her studies and family, who are pinning their hopes for a better future on her. In the house where she works, she meets Rashid, the spoiled only son of his mother Ghanima and father Issa. After a brief love affair, he decides to marry Josephine, on condition that the marriage remains a secret. But things do not go according to plan. Josephine becomes pregnant with José and Rashid abandons them when the child is less than two months old, sending his son away to the Philippines. There he struggles with poverty and clings to the hope of returning to his father’s country when he is eighteen. It is at this point that the novel begins.
The Bamboo Stalk is a daring work which looks objectively at the phenomenon of foreign workers in Arab countries and deals with the problem of identity through the life of a young man of mixed race who returns to Kuwait, the ‘dream’ or ‘heaven’ which his mother had described to him since he was a child.