Thursday, September 6, 2007

Spotlight On: Amin Maalouf

Amin Maalouf is a lebanese author although he has lived in France for the last 30 years and writes in french. He writes some very interesting stories among which are several historical romances like Samarkand, The Crusades Through Arabs Eyes or Leo Africanus...

He uses historical settings as the background to his character's story, some are new perspectives of known events - The Crusades... - while others are an account of someone's life - Leo Africanus - either way all his characters are preocupied with sociological and philosophical problems oft dealing with the time's political intrigues.

In Samarkand he mentions the events behing Omar Khayyam's Rubbayat, in The Crusades Through Arabs Eyes he depicts the crusades based on arab accounts of the period, in Leo Africanus he tells the life of Leo who wrote a description of Africa's geography...

He has also written a futuristic tale called The First Century After Beatrice in which he deals with several problems affecting the world today. He has written more books, all with historical settings and some of which mixing fantasy with real events. I hope to read them soon!

Here's the list of his books:

LES CROISADES VUES PAR LES ARABES, 1983 - The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
LÉON L’AFRICAIN, 1986 - Leo the African (trans. by Peter Sluglett)
SAMARCANDE, 1988 - Samarkand (trans. by Russell Harris)
LES JARDINS DE LUMIÈRE, 1991 - The Gardens of Light (trans. by Dorothy S. Blair)
LE PREMIER SIÈCLE APRÈS BÉATRICE, 1992 - The First Century After Beatrice (trans. by Dorothy S. Blair)
LE ROCHER DE TANIOS, 1993 - The Rock of Tanios (trans. by Dorothy S. Blair)
LES ECHELLES DU LEVANT, 1996 - Ports of Call (trans. by Alberto Manguel)
LES IDENTITÉS MEURTRIÈRES, 1998 - In the Name of Identity (trans. by Barbara Bray)
L'AMOUR DE LOIN, 2000 (opera libretto)
LE PÉRIPLE DE BALDASSARE, 2000 - Balthasar's Odyssey (trans. by Barbara Bray)
ADRIANA MATER, 2004 (opera libretto)


  1. Amin Maalouf is one of my favorite authors, Ana. I reread his Crusades Through Arab Eyes every chance I get and each time is like the first. My mother-in-law actually meet him several times when she was younger and living in Lebanon with her parents (her father was a teacher there for years). Apparently, he is a very interesting person and very charming as well.;-)

  2. I just stumbled across this post while perusing the site - and this author brought back terrible memories for me. Now, I haven't read any of these historical books you mention, but for my freshman college course I had to read In The Name Of Identity. And while it might have been well written - the way the class had to deal with it continuously (and it wasn't one of my favorite reads) has permanently scarred that name in my head. Unfortunately due to that, I probably won't be reading any of his other works. But I didn't know he wrote anything historical romancy, thanks for the info.