Cover image for The square moon : supernatural tales
The square moon : supernatural tales
Sammān, Ghādah.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Qamar al-murabbaʻ. English
Publication Information:
Fayetteville : University of Arkansas Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
203 pages ; 23 cm
Beheading the cat -- The metallic crocodile -- The plot against Badi' -- Register : I'm not an Arab woman -- Visitors of a dying person -- The swan genie -- Thirty years of bees -- The other side of the door -- An air-conditioned egg -- The brain's closed castle.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Marking collisions of culture and character, these stories arise at the frontiers where Arabic tradition melds with both the modern European world and a Gothic strata of the supernatural.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Lebanese Arabic author Samman's short stories are set in Paris and are ghoulishly endearing. They reveal the inner lives of several expatriates from war-torn Lebanon, and, ranging in tone from quiet suspense to outright horror, they employ the supernatural to highlight the emerging conflict between the genders in Arabic culture. Some stories are told from the male perspective and disclose confusion, frustration, and an inability to understand the changes that Western freedoms have wrought in wives and lovers. Other tales render the female point of view, delving into the anger and longing of Lebanese women torn between love for the men in their lives and the new opportunities they have discovered in Paris. In the collection as a whole, Samman shows the true complexity of this gender conflict without blaming either gender for the other's difficulties, and in all the stories, she uses the ghostly realm as a metaphor for unconscious desires and fears that haunt humans more than disembodied spirits ever could. --Bonnie Johnston

Choice Review

The supernatural aspects of Samman's tales are unsophisticated and, when apparent, modest in tone. One comic piece, "The Brain's Closed Castle," has everything: adultery, murder, wit, a ghost narrator-witness, hell as repetition, reality that may occur in an asylum, and neatly parodied conventions. Generally, however, Samman's female narrative personae are identical in tone, expression, and themes--a sameness of style and character that quickly becomes tedious. These women wallow in self-analysis, with the same problems, grievances, and responses. Repeated themes include the indignities offered to expatriate Lebanese women in Paris, the transplanted oppressive male culture, female economic disadvantage and success, and paranoia. Samman obtrusively foregrounds metaphorical analogies; provides little sense of narrative proportion or climax; draws cliched characters and situations; too frequently uses melodramatic or bloodless language. In most tales, italic is grossly overused to indicate flashback, in unexceptional linear fashion, for lengthy silent soliloquies that are purely expository, never disordered. Lacking balance, variety, and vivacity, this title does not satisfy and cannot be recommended. L. K. MacKendrick; University of Windsor