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The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist

Named as one of the top ten novels set in the Arab World by The Guardian, 2010. Emile Habibi's greatest novel (The Guardian), The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist is the searing tale of Saeed, a Palestinian who becomes a citizen of Israel, an informer for the Zionist state who is slowly transformed from a gullible collaborator into a Palestinian intent on survival. Shaped by Habibi searing irony, and inspired by the author's own experience in Israeli politics, the novel is a compelling exploration of terror, resistance and heroism. Acclaimed by Edward Said for its marvellously controlled energetic styl, The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist imitates the most famous of all satirical novels, Voltaire Candide, in its candour and biting humour, offering a unique perspective on a political conflict that continues to rage. Though originally published in 1974, the novel is as resonant and Habibi's prose as powerful - as it was over thirty years ago. Out of print for ten years, Arabia Books now presents one of the classic works of Arabic literature in a new edition. Emile Habibi (1922-1996) is considered to be one of the greatest Arab novelists of the 2oth century, described by the New York Times as the ultimate chronicler of the quandaries and conflicts of Arabs in Israel. A politician as well as a writer, Habibi was awarded was awarded Israel's highest cultural award - the Israel Prize - in 1992, and the top Palestinian literary honour - the Jerusalem Medal - by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1990, the only person ever to win both awards. Both singled out The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist for particular praise. After his death in 1996, Habibi was hailed as one of the major forces in the development of the Arabic novel by The Independent.

Emile Habiby was a Palestinian-Israeli writer and politician. He decided to stay in Israel after the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and founded the Israeli Communist Party.

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'Amazing story from a most unconventional perspective. An entertaining and thought-provoking classic.' - A Kirkus Review

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