Eye of the Kite

Saleh al-Hamad

Wa’il, a young man in his twenties, is sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for the murder of his girlfriend Ghada. The sentence is due to be carried out in 30 days’ time, which becomes the novel’s timeframe, counting down in days and then hours before the execution. Tracing his teenage years, his university studies in California, and his final days in prison, the novel reveals Wa’il’s internal struggles, the cause of his violent outbursts, and the reason why he has the number 26 tattooed on his arm. It delves into his relationships with the forceful Ghada and his strict father, whose deteriorating health causes a shift in their relationship; with Salman, his cousin and opposite in personality; his complicated sister Arij, sometimes tender and at other times his determined adversary; and with his mother, a shadowy and yet significant presence in the home. Eye of the Kite explores existential and philosophical themes relating to faith and justice, love and friendship, guilt and forgiveness, and how human beings relate to death and continue to search for meaning in life, even in their final moments.      


Dar Rashm


2024 Longlist