Imprisoned Airs: A conversation with Salar Abdoh

In life, Reza Abdoh inspired all manner of fantastical tales.

Haj to Utopia

They were drawn from a seemingly incoherent mix of -isms: pan-Islamism, Irish republicanism and Bolshevism.

The Colonel

In 2006, I was asked to address an audience in Tehran on the novels of Orhan Pamuk.

Notes on a Century

Alongside these formidable accomplishments, there is a Bernard Lewis who is reviled by leftish academia and who is surrounded by dubious sycophants.

Jumana Manna: The apparatus of the game

Here, the touch of her swim coach’s hand can stand in for all the sexual slippage of a woman coming of age in water.

A Very Still Life: Jack Kevorkian and the muse of genocide

Quite at home in the museum, the severed head of a young woman dangles by her hair a few feet from the reception desk.

Aleph Null: Shridhar Bapat’s undergrounds

People remember Shridhar with regret because that’s how they remember themselves — their disillusionments and disappointments, their selling out or failing to sell, their settling down and surviving.

Mona Eltahawy

“We went on hajj soon after we arrived in Saudi, and I was groped beside the Kaaba, as I was kissing the black stone — the heavenly white stone that was tainted black by the sins of humanity.”


The world’s only superpower is public opinion.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Uneasy listening

In December of 1985, James Vance and Raymond Belknap, age twenty and eighteen, respectively, shot themselves in the face after many hours of beer drinking and dope smoking in a church parking lot in the town of Sparks, Nevada.

Franziska Pierwoss: Car talk

The funny thing about Franziska Pierwoss is that despite spending much of the past six months immersed in the intricacies of Beiruti car culture — from body kits and butterfly doors to the ups and downs of drifting — she doesn’t actually know how to drive.

The Angry, Angry Arab

As’ad AbuKhalil is a serious-minded political scientist and an erudite commentator on Middle Eastern politics.

The Marble Lawn

I was seven when my father left for Saudi Arabia.

Occupy Godhead

As the motorcade crept up Broadway, the shower of tickertape and confetti was so thick that one might have failed to notice Emperor Haile Selassie I, serene as a saint, buried in the pomp and protocol of his own welcoming.

Soft Readers Prefer Hard Covers

Last year, for the first time, e-books outsold hardback editions on We are past the Rubicon. It’s a new frontier for digitized distribution, a post-publishing paroxysm.

The Chibsi Challenge

Crisps or chips?

In the Presence of Absence: Present without leave

Mahmoud Darwish’s later poetry is a gathering of ghosts.


My first introduction to Egypt’s Beverly Hills came sometime in 2006. Its billboard loomed over a dust-coated building, visible from a crossroads of thoroughfares and the looping tentacles of the mammoth bridge that links downtown to every other part of the city.

Hamlet’s Arab Journey

Nasser was not Hamlet, and he was no Macbeth.

The Bequest of Quest

Quest was strange, delightful, controversial, and mostly forgotten.