Notebooks of the Bookseller

Jalal Barjas

Set between 1947 and 2019, this novel is based on several notebooks of stories about people facing different hardships, such as losing their homes or not knowing who their family are. Their interwoven destinies reveal the value of the house, as a symbol of one’s homeland, as opposed to the surrounding ruination. The central character is Ibrahim, a bookshop keeper, a cultured man and voracious reader of novels. In fact, he even takes on the identity of the protagonists in novels which appeal to him. However, due to his isolation, loneliness and maltreatment by a cruel world, he suffers mental illness and descends into full schizophrenia. He attempts suicide, before meeting the woman who will change his life.  


The Arabic Institute for Research and Publishing


2021 Winner