True Arab Love

Issa J. Boullata

September 2016

Abdallah’s encounter with the military governor on the eve of his departure for America opens this collection of stories, and Khalil al-Ibrahami’s moving search for his lost fiancée in Jerusalem closes the collection. In between, Issa J. Boullata’s stories show what it’s like to be an Arab from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, or Egypt making a new life as an immigrant in Canada or the United States. This is what it is, to be displaced. This is what it is to leave your home and start over in a new country.  


Born in Jerusalem, Issa J. Boullata taught Arabic studies at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, and later Arabic literature, Modern Arab Thought, and Qur’anic Studies at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. The author of several books on Arabic literature and on the Qur’an, he is a noted translator of Arabic literature and a contributing editor of Banipal magazine. His memoir, The Bells of Memory: A Palestinian Boyhood in Jerusalem (Linda Leith Publishing, 2014), was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Mavis Gallant Prize. He lives in Montreal.Read more from Stephen Henighan

“You once said, ‘Love is fragile, Jim.’ You also said, ‘If the flame of love dies down, one should let it go, for there will be other flames.” I understand all this philosophy of ephemeral love, although my love is not like that. Mine is a true Arab love that clings and does not let go.”

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