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Reviews by Benjamin

by

The first time I read The Penal Colony was 1998 or so; I spotted a well-used paperback copy in a pile of abandoned belongings at a college dormitory. I took it, began to read, and was instantly absorbed. I was blown away by the story, the characters, and through it all the language: sometimes sharp and precise, other times poetic, always compelling and memorable. I consider myself a fairly well-read person, in terms of classic literature as well as modern best-sellers, and without hesitation, I put The Penal Colony on my "Desert Island List" of ten books that I would take with me to my own exile on Sert.

Up until a few years ago, this book was hard to find: out of print (at least in the USA), and precious little information available on the internet. Now it's here, easy and inexpensive to download, and it's an absolute gem of a book. The ideas, situations and characters will stay with you for life.

Reviewed on 2008.11.24

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Author of the Day

Alexander McNabb
When Alexander McNabb stopped smoking, he had to find something constructive to do with his hands - so he started writing. His debut novel Olives - A Violent Romance, sparked a lot of controversy in the Middle East because of his use of common family names and because it contained themes such as drinking alcohol, sex before marriage etc. So he followed it with Beirut, in which there’s booze aplenty, sex, gambling, murder, violence and general mayhem. As our Author of the Day, McNabb chats about his love for the Middle East, why his books always deal with politics, democratic values and religion and reveals what music he listens to while writing.
Read full interview...

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