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Saudi Author’s Fantasy Book Merges Reality And Fantasies

In her best-selling Arabic novel ‘Al-Rahala’, 22-year-old Saudi novelist, Kendah Jambi crosses the gap between fiction and reality.

The protagonists of the narrative are a group of individuals known as Al-Rahala, or gypsies, who gain the power to switch between realities and traverse the multiverse. Problems start, though, when they lose control and get flung into a maelstrom of realms they can’t understand. According to Jambi, the novel is full of symbolism... The “blood moon” mentioned in the book has several meanings, with an intriguing combination of change and chance. The moon’s blood-red tint creates a symbol of violence and unusual natural upheavals that foreshadow many of the book’s events. Jambi describes “zero land” as terra nullius, a territory that lies between states and is ungoverned. It is a place where wild animals prowl and where outcasts live. It is a contentious region despite being uninhabitable because of its important geographic location.

Jambi told Arab News, “ ‘Al-Rahala’ is heavily inspired by my personal experiences.” She also mentioned that she has always voraciously read fantasy books, and had observed an absence of such literature, particularly those published in Arabic by Arab authors, in particular by women. Jambi also stated that she is not aware of any other Arabic literature that discusses quantum hopping, lucid dreaming, and extraterrestrial worlds. She claimed that ‘Al-Rahala’ enhances the Arabic literary landscape and assisting readers in falling in love with the Arabic language, just as she had.

‘Al-Rahala’ took around eight years to be written and is published by Adab Books and sold at Virgin Megastore and Jarir. The young author admitted that the book’s popularity inspired her to finish a trilogy that includes even more of her astral travels. “To all my aspiring fantasy writers out there, write until you perfect your craft. Don’t rush, but allow yourself to sail in the oceans of imagination,” Jambi advised.

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