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The Belt

The Belt

Translated by Nadia Benabid


9780863563072 February 2003 Paperback 156pp

About the Book

Ahmed grows up in a small Saudi village steeped in the family ties, legends, poetry and songs of traditional tribal culture. As he becomes a man, the cataclysmic changes of modernity spring up around him. Islam is imposing itself more and more strongly on tribal beliefs; moreover, the city begins to seem strangely attractive to his young mind. Ahmed struggles to come to terms with this newly unfolding world without forsaking his village, family or Hizam, the old man who comes to epitomise the traditional life itself.

This is an honest and enchanting coming-of-age story, and a dialogue between old and new. A revealing look at the religious, social and intellectual forces at work in the Arabian Peninsula, The Belt also challenges conventional perceptions of the region.

About the Author

Ahmed Abodehman was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and was known since youth as the ‘bard’ of his village; he has lived in Paris since 1982 and is a poet, novelist and news correspondent for the Saudi daily al-Riyadh.


‘A fabulous read ... a poetic, moving and utterly fascinating coming-of-age tale set in a Saudi Arabian village.’
Claudia Roden

‘Simple, yet profound ... immensely touching.’
Le Monde

'This moving work seduces with its clarity of style. Abodehman writes with the strength and finesse of a poet.'