Al-Mutanabbi’s Rabat

Hassan Aourid

The great classical poet Al-Mutanabbi comes to Rabat, Morocco, after the Arab Spring and talks to the book’s narrator, who makes him promise never to leave the apartment, since he will not understand the modern world. However, Al-Mutanabbi does not keep his promise and when the narrator is not looking, slips out. He falls into the hands of the security forces and is placed in a mental hospital, from where the narrator attempts to have him released, without success. During the narrator’s visit to him in the hospital, they dissect the ailments of Arab culture. In the second part of the book, it becomes clear that in fact the narrator is suffering from hallucinations and receiving treatment. It is he who imagines the solutions presented by Al-Mutanabbi to rescue a world which has lost its compass.   


Al-Markez al-Thaqafi al-Arabi


2020 Longlist