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The Bleeding of the Stone The moufflon, a wild sheep prized for its meat, continues to survive in the remote mountain desert of southern Libya Only Asouf, a lone bedouin who cherishes the desert and identifies with its creatures, knows exactly where it is to be found Now he and the moufflon together come under threat from hunters who have already slaughtered the once numerous desert gazelles The novel combines pertinent ecological issues with a moving portrayal of traditional desert life and of the power of the human spirit to resist


About the Author: Ibrahim al-Koni

Ibrahim al Koni Arabic is a Libyan writer and one of the most prolific Arabic novelists.Born in 1948 in Fezzan Region, Ibrahim al Koni was brought up on the tradition of the Tuareg, popularly known as the veiled men or the blue men Mythological elements, spiritual quest and existential questions mingle in the writings of al Koni who has been hailed as magical realist, Sufi fabulist and poetic novelist.He spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was twelve Al Koni studied comparative literature at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow and then worked as a journalist in Moscow and Warsaw.By 2007, al Koni had publishedthan 80 books and received numerous awards All written in Arabic, his books have been translated into 35 languages His novel Gold Dust appeared in English in 2008.



10 thoughts on “The Bleeding of the Stone

  1. Nancy Oakes Nancy Oakes says:

    The Bleeding of the Stone is the work of Libyan author Ibrahim al Koni, who has won several awards, among them the Swiss State Award 1995 for this book, the Japanese Translation Committee Award for his Gold Dust 1997 , and in 2010, the Arab Novel Award His novel New Waw, Saharan Oasis won him a place on the shortlist for the National Translation Award in 2015, the same year he found himself as a finalist for the Man International Booker Prize.In general, as noted by Ursula Lindsey at The Nat The Bleeding of the Stone is the work of Libyan author Ibrahim al Koni, who has won several awards, among them the Swiss State Award 1995 for this book, the Japanese Translation Committee Award for his Gold Dust 1997 , and in 2010, the Arab Novel Award His novel New Waw, Saharan Oasis won him a place on the shortlist for the National Translation Award in 2015, the same year he found himself as a finalist for the Man International Booker Prize.In general, as noted by Ursula Lindsey at The Nation, al Koni s entire oeuvre charts the disintegration of the country s nomadic, tribal and mythic culture under the impact of foreign intrusions and then of oil wealth The Bleeding of the Stone pulls in the reader not just because of the story, but also because of the lovely blending of mysticism, Sufism, Islam, the Old Testament, and traditional beliefs Additionally, some of its chapters have epigraphs from such thinkers as Herodotus, Sophocles, and Ovid that set the stage for what s to come within It can definitely be read as an environmental work, and as a portrait of the desert itself, but it is also a story that pits the traditional world against the worst of modern intrusions, and a novel that speaks to resistance Finally, it is just flat out beautiful in terms of the writing While I will say that it s not going to be for everyone it s a very out of the box kind of read that absolutely demands reader participation and lots of think time at the same time it is an incredibly powerful novel that I can most heartily recommend


  2. Nada Elfeituri Nada Elfeituri says:

    This book is my first foray into the body of Al Koni s work, though I feel a pang of guilt that, as a Libyan, I read the translated English version rather than the original Arabic Libya is a large country, and oftentimes the inhabitants of different regions hardly know about each other For most of those who live on the Northern coastal cities, Fezzan the Southern province is something of a mystery We know that there s large expanses of desert and a slightly different culture, but there s no This book is my first foray into the body of Al Koni s work, though I feel a pang of guilt that, as a Libyan, I read the translated English version rather than the original Arabic Libya is a large country, and oftentimes the inhabitants of different regions hardly know about each other For most of those who live on the Northern coastal cities, Fezzan the Southern province is something of a mystery We know that there s large expanses of desert and a slightly different culture, but there s no real interaction With Al Koni s works, we get a chance to experience a taste of life in Libya s deserts, and The Bleeding of the Stone offers a great look into the environment, the people and the challenges present there The novel presents the life and fate of Asouf the goat herder Unlike the other nomads of the desert, Asouf lives alone and understands better than most the mysteries of the desert, giving him an almost legendary status among the others It s this status that gets him ensnared in the hands of poachers, who demand to know where Libya s famed waddan live The background of all the characters are explored, leading to this final confrontation There s a lot of religious symbolism used, from Christianity and Islam to themystic African religions, which is a good reflection of the mixed cultural identity Libya has I loved the beautiful descriptions of the wildlife and terrain of Southern Libya, although it s a bittersweet feeling to know that it won t be explored or developed as long as the conflict in the country continues Of all the provinces in Libya, Fezzan probably suffers from the worst marginalization There s also an important message on the environmental dangers of poaching in Libya s south, a problem that organizations like the Libyan Wildlife Trust have stressed on due to the unregulated hunting that goes on there.I feel like I might have robbed myself from further appreciation of the book by reading a translated version, perhaps the original will befascinating


  3. Rajab Rajab says:

    I m very happy to find one of my all time favorite writer in the library of Goodreads Ibrahim Al Koni is brilliant writer, and if like to knowabout Libya or live in a new myth, you real have to read Al Koni Actually I d like to recommend all his books, but this is the only one I found in here It s really really so good.


  4. Aubrey Aubrey says:

    A decent read Very good metaphor for animal extinction caused by man s reckless slaughter Some good descriptive passages, but otherwise nothing of special note here.


  5. Luke Luke says:

    I will start off by saying that I absolutely loved this book I had never read a piece of Libyan literature let alone Saharan literature before this piece, and I was blown away by it In summary, this book is about a man named Asouf who is a goat herder in the deserts of Fezzan, Libya Born an only child, he was taught by his father and mother how to hunt wildlife while maintaining a delicate balance between human concerns and the natural world The most difficult animal to hunt, however, is t I will start off by saying that I absolutely loved this book I had never read a piece of Libyan literature let alone Saharan literature before this piece, and I was blown away by it In summary, this book is about a man named Asouf who is a goat herder in the deserts of Fezzan, Libya Born an only child, he was taught by his father and mother how to hunt wildlife while maintaining a delicate balance between human concerns and the natural world The most difficult animal to hunt, however, is the waddan or Barbary Sheep a creature of great mystical value in Asouf s worldview.Over the course of his life,tourists primarily Italians, but other Europeans come down to visit the wadis of Libya to pay homage to its majestic beauty One day, two tourists arrive, but it turns out that they aren t tourists at all They are serial hunters and are in large part responsible for the near extinction of gazelles in Northern Libya Yet, these two men do not look to hunt gazelles near Asouf s home Instead, they seek the famous waddan.At the most material level, this is a work about conservation and the importance of balance in desert life This emphasis can be extended further, to a global level Indeed, humans are in large part responsible for the Sixth Great Extinction On a deeper level, this is a text about spirituality from a Sufist perspective To al Koni and his most sympathetic characters, God is in all of us and we are capable of anything through faith, patience, and perseverance.As far as I can tell, al Koni is a famous and well respected Libyan literary figure, but he does not seem to have a strong reputation in the Anglophone world or as far as I can tell the Francophone world This is a shame, as al Koni s translated work is lucid, powerful, and belongs alongside figures like Paulo Coelho and Gabriel Garcia Marquez at bookstores throughout the United States


  6. Hamza El Moussaoui Hamza El Moussaoui says:

    Magical


  7. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    I tell you Be patient How can you live in the desert without patience The man who was never granted its contentment will never be happy there I tell you Use patience and cunning, they re the secrets of the desert Asouf is a Bedouin living alone with his sheep in the cave laden mountains of Libya This novel tells his story and also stories of several surrounding characters, while also dipping into magical realism and mysticism.There is a fair amount of description of gazelles vs waddaI tell you Be patient How can you live in the desert without patience The man who was never granted its contentment will never be happy there I tell you Use patience and cunning, they re the secrets of the desert Asouf is a Bedouin living alone with his sheep in the cave laden mountains of Libya This novel tells his story and also stories of several surrounding characters, while also dipping into magical realism and mysticism.There is a fair amount of description of gazelles vs waddan I wasn t sure the waddan exists, but it does I think it would be best to stay away from them, if you believe the lessons in this story


  8. Aziza Aziza says:

    This novel has all the ingredients that should have made it one of my favorite novels the Sahara, Tuaregs, spirituality, and a reverence for nature Set in Southern Libya in the 1930s, the story starts with the very shy Asouf, a lonely goat herder, who isat home in caves with ancient paintings or among animals than in the modern world of men While empathizing with Asouf, the reader is also made keenly aware of the consequences of not being able to connect with the outside world when he l This novel has all the ingredients that should have made it one of my favorite novels the Sahara, Tuaregs, spirituality, and a reverence for nature Set in Southern Libya in the 1930s, the story starts with the very shy Asouf, a lonely goat herder, who isat home in caves with ancient paintings or among animals than in the modern world of men While empathizing with Asouf, the reader is also made keenly aware of the consequences of not being able to connect with the outside world when he lets several caravans go by, which should have provided him and initially his mother before she dies with much needed staple foods and supplies When two hunters arrive who want him to slaughter many gazelles as well as find the waddan a moufflon, a kind of wild sheep with enormous horns that symbolizes the ancient way of life he, the animals, and ultimately the entire eco system come under threat The flashbacks and confusing story line that ensue contribute to a dreamlike quality that some might like, but I didn t care for While I usually enjoy Latin American magical realism, I felt a bit put off by the magical powers of the waddan and by the speaking gazelles Perhaps having animals with human or godlike qualities is Al Koni s way of getting his message across despite the fact that noble human beings and animals have not only a beautiful spirit but also a will to resist, traditional desert life is disappearing fast, and we human beings need to act before nature won t be able to sustain us any A worthy message by an important writer, yet not completely successful in my opinion


  9. Harry Rutherford Harry Rutherford says:

    The Bleeding of the Stone is a Libyan novel about Asouf, a Bedouin man living a hermit like existence out in the desert, herding goats and occasionally guiding foreigners to see the rock paintings on the walls of the wadis.Asouf has a spiritual relationship with the desert and particularly with an animal called the waddan, the Barbary Sheep , that lives in the mountains Two hunters arrive who want him to find the waddan for them, and the book intercuts the story of their interaction and flashba The Bleeding of the Stone is a Libyan novel about Asouf, a Bedouin man living a hermit like existence out in the desert, herding goats and occasionally guiding foreigners to see the rock paintings on the walls of the wadis.Asouf has a spiritual relationship with the desert and particularly with an animal called the waddan, the Barbary Sheep , that lives in the mountains Two hunters arrive who want him to find the waddan for them, and the book intercuts the story of their interaction and flashbacks to Asouf s earlier life.So it s a book about deserts, and man s relationship with nature, and spirituality and religion, and environmentalism, and the effects of solitude.Apart from getting slightly confused by the order of events careless reading on my part meant I thought something was a flashback when it wasn t, which made the ending distinctly unexpected I enjoyed this book a lot I read it in the garden on an appropriately hot afternoon hot by South London standards, admittedly, not by Libyan standards , and it was short enough to read pretty much at one sitting It was atmospheric and rather moving I think the reference on the back cover to Al Koni being a master of magical realism is a bit peculiar, but I m willing to forgive it, because I have been guilty myself of describing any novel where anything slightly peculiar happens in a vaguely exotic country as magical realism


  10. Edith Edith says:

    It s nice to read a modern Arabic work that for once revolved around themes other than religion and politics This particular story focused on environmentalism, especially the delicate balance of desert ecology where, in the absence of civilization, man and beast depended directly on one another for survival The story incorporates magical realism in the form of North African Sufi folk spirituality to give explanation for the events It s a little like a Bedouin folk tale version of the Old M It s nice to read a modern Arabic work that for once revolved around themes other than religion and politics This particular story focused on environmentalism, especially the delicate balance of desert ecology where, in the absence of civilization, man and beast depended directly on one another for survival The story incorporates magical realism in the form of North African Sufi folk spirituality to give explanation for the events It s a little like a Bedouin folk tale version of the Old Man and the Sea , except with a solitary old man heroically guarding the last vestiges of the desert values and spirituality against the encroachment of greed and technology The hipster American Marine who shallowly dabbled in eastern spirituality and came to join in the slaughter of wild animals to get a taste of what he called spiritual food is a veiled political reference perhaps But I also see it as a diatribe against the foodie who derives excitement from eating exotic animals and cloaks it with spiritual and cultural meaning like putting on protective amulets before consuming , when in fact his destruction to satisfy his glutton is the exact opposite of the exotic eastern spirituality he claimed to follow.See also The Atlantic The Moral Crusade Against Foodies


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