x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Book review: A humorous look at a dysfunctional Arab society

Nietzsche's Camel Must Die is aptly summarised with a quote from novelist Jack Kerouac, who had 'nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion'.

Nietzsche's Camel Must Die is a compilation of the views and observations that one Facebook user posted daily on the social networking site.

For netizens used to the constant stream of fast-paced social updates that are open to shares, likes and comments, the appeal of a book by Dubai-based Rewa Zeinati is that it is a series of unrelated notes that can be read from any page without losing the plot.

The Lebanese author and poet began writing on religion, women's status, marriage and stereotypes on Facebook in September last year, then decided to turn her obsessions into a book. Her work is aptly summarised in the foreword by Lebanese poet Joumana Haddad and again in the epilogue where the author quotes American novelist Jack Kerouac, who had "nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion".

Her attempt in depicting a dysfunctional Arab society and personal incidents is not literary non-fiction but, rather, a personal take backed by observations and perceptions. A humorous look on life's trivialities tied in with references from German philosopher Nietzsche's books, Arab poets and Western authors help break the common theme of disenchantment with society.

* Afshan Ahmed