Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Calligrapher's Secret by Rafik Schami

The Calligrapher's Secret (2008)

by Rafik Schami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
122798,704 (3.63)3

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

English (3)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All (7)
Showing 3 of 3
Had Rafik Schami written the One Thousand and One Nights, it would be thrice as long. Schami is a compulsive story teller. Whenever he mentions a new person in his novels, another full story shots on the side and blossoms under his pen. These side stories are always lively and entertaining, full of exotic flavors and images, but they do not necessarily add much to the rather simple main plot of the novel. They may detract from cohesiveness.

Schami (a Christian) brings in again his favorite themes: love, (read: love that crosses religions, in particular between a Muslim woman and a Christian man--not the other way around); street life in busy, noisy and colorful Damascus; social and family interactions in modern Syria; corruption amongst the country’s political class; religious tensions. What is new in this book is his presentation of the art and history of the Arabic alphabet and calligraphy.

Aside from his usual topics, what also characterizes Schami is his particular tone. He is capable of narrating with a sweet tone some charming scenes (he has also written books for children) and then brings in, abruptly, incidents of sudden brutality (could anything ever happen in Syria without any hint of violence?). I find this very peculiar.

This will be my last Schami. I have enjoyed his depictions of life in Damascus, and learning about the complex history of modern Syria in [b:The Dark Side of Love|6359825|The Dark Side of Love|Rafik Schami|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348746072s/6359825.jpg|2555674], but I have reached my saturation point. His characters remain flat and do not emerge beyond those in a tale. I wonder whether he will ever write about what is happening in Syria these days.
( )
  KalliopeMuse | Apr 2, 2013 |
Just finished this and I really loved it. Rich characters, evev the secondary characters have depth.
Set in Syria in the 1950's, when the country was grappling with being an ancient culture in a modernizing world. The conflict is visualized through the worls of calligraphy and various attempts to modernize and simplify the Arabic alphabet and language.
The last hundred pages becomes almost a separate book on the virtues of the alphabet, and the art fo callligraphy.
Reads like the stories from which Scherezarde arose. Beautiful and magical ( )
  MarshaKT | Mar 13, 2013 |
learned a lot about the arabian language. very interesting. i just hoped the author would hve stayed with one or two main characters instead of jumping from one to the other to show all sides to the story. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Apr 12, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rafik Schamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Even as a young man, Hamid Farsi is acclaimed as a master of the art of calligraphy. But as time goes by, he sees that weaknesses in the Arabic language and its script limit its uses in the modern world. In a secret society, he works out schemes for radical reform, never guessing what risks he is running and how far the purists are willing to go to stop him. His beautiful wife, Nura, is ignorant of the great plans on her husband's mind. She knows only his cold, avaricious side and so it is no wonder she feels flattered by the attentions of his amusing, lively young apprentice. And so begins a passionate love story--the love of a Muslim woman and a Christian man--Cover, [p.4].… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
14 wanted1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.63)
2 3
2.5 1
3 8
3.5 4
4 8
4.5 2
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,578,516 books! | Top bar: Always visible