Here, for the first time, is a volume of short stories from this commercially and culturally vital and vibrant center of the Arab world's selective sampling of a burgeoning literary output since the 1970s by the leading Arabic English translator. Life before oil in this region was harsh, and many of the stories in this collection by both men and women from all corners of the country tell of those times and the almost unbelievable changes that have come about in the space of two generations. Some tell of the struggles faced in the early days, while others bring the immediate past and the present together, revealing that the past, with all its difficulties and dangers, nonetheless possesses a certain nostalgia. The volume includes stories by Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Roda al-Baluchi, Hareb al-Dhaheri, Nasser Al-Dhaheri, Maryam Jumaa Faraj, Jumaa al-Fairuz, Nasser Jubran, Saleh Karama, Lamees Faris al-Marzuqi, Mohamed al-Mazroui, Ebtisam Abdullah Al-Mu alla, Ibrahim Mubarak, Mohamed al-Murr, Sheikha al-Nakhy, Mariam Al Saedi, Omniyat Salem, Salma Matar Seif, Ali Abdul Aziz al-Sharhan, Muhsin Soleiman, and ishaa al-Za aby.
Denys Johnson-Davies, described by Edward Said as "the leading Arabic–English translator of our time,” has produced more than thirty volumes of translation of modern Arabic literature. He is the editor of The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim (AUC Press, 2008). He received the Sheikh Zayed book Award in 2007 for Personality of the Year in the Field of Culture.