The formation of an imagined community in Cities of Salt.

Petro-capitalism, petrofiction, and Islamic discourse: the formation of an imagined community in Cities of Salt.

ABDELRAHMAN MUNIF’S CITIES OF SALT is an Arabic novel about the discovery of and subsequent drilling for oil in a Persian Gulf community in the 1930s. The novel was published in Lebanon in 1984, and in 1987 it was translated into English by Peter Theroux and published in America. Munif, an oil industry expert turned novelist, was born in Jordan, earned his Ph.D. in oil economics at the University of Belgrade, and was a Saudi Arabian citizen until his novels were banned in Saudi Arabia “for their excoriating satires of the peninsula’s oil elite.” 1 When his books were banned, Munif’s Saudi citizenship was revoked, and he was exiled from Saudi Arabia.

Cities of Salt is the first novel in a quintet, and is one of very few novels to date that focuses on the oil industry. The novel, in which the arrival of an American oil company into a Persian Gulf community initiates a cultural encounter between Occident and Orient, seems at first glance ripe for a postcolonial reading. Issa J. Boullata even argues that the novelistic form of Cities of Salt is inherently postcolonial because it adapts and adopts Western forms in order to disengage itself from the West. Boullata places Cities of Salt into a category with “recent Arabic novels that speak in the voice of Arab culture, using its narrative techniques and heeding its needs and its environment, in the interest of establishing Arab authenticity and disengaging from Western influences.” 2 Because of its disengagement from the West, Boullata argues “we should read it as a novel in its own right, and not impose Western criteria upon it or approach it with preconceived expectations.” 3

Whether or not Cities of Salt’s novelistic form is a self-conscious disavowal of traditional Western novelistic form (making the novel’s form itself postcolonial) is still up for debate. Either way, the central issues that the novel raises do not focus on its cultural encounter, but focus instead on issues of class, making a postcolonial reading of this work reductive. The novel’s form, rather than the issues it raises, is what has concerned recent critics. The primary characteristic of Cities of Salt’s atypical novelistic form, the fact that it does not have a conventional protagonist, has elicited several critical debates. Unpacking these debates leads to a re-reading of this work and to some speculation about how a novel can not only affect how we re-read history, but how we can discover how ideologies that take root in these histories develop into current global issues.

While there is no individual protagonist in this novel, Munif privileges the experiences of the lower classes in Cities of Salt, and because the conflicts and struggles of this community of working-class Arabs are what propels the novel’s plot forward, we can identify the novel’s protagonist as the community of working-class Arabs. Because of the introduction of a modern capitalist society, and the negative effects of petro-capitalism that result from the oil encounter, class consciousness emerges, which marks the beginning of a typical antagonistic Marxist class struggle. 4


Munif’s quintet is the subject of Amitav Ghosh’s essay “Petrofiction: The Novel and the Oil Encounter.” Ghosh coins the term “petrofiction” to classify literature about the oil industry, and likens petrofiction to literature about the spice trade. 5 Ghosh remarks, “If the Spice Trade has any twentieth-century equivalent, it can only be the oil industry.” 6 Ghosh points out though, that a major difference between the Spice Trade and the Oil Industry is the production of literature: “Within a few decades of the discovery of the sea route to India, the Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes, had produced the Lusiads, the epic poem that chronicled Vasco da Gama’s voyage and in effect conjured Portugal into literary nationhood. The Oil Encounter on the other hand, has produced scarcely a single work of note.” 7 Ghosh speculates that the reason behind the lack of petrofiction is the history of oil, which is embarrassing to all parties involved. Ghosh also notes that the places where oil encounters happened were inhabited mainly by oral cultures, and were “those parts of the Middle East that have been the most marginal in the development of modern Arab culture and literature–on the outermost peripheries of such literary centers as Cairo and Beirut.” 8

Political and geographical reasons aside, Ghosh emphasizes that formal problems are the main reasons why the oil encounter remains an untapped literary project. He claims that the multilingual nature of the oil encounter is at odds with novelistic form, which more comfortably operates within a “monolingual speech community,” or nation-states. 9 Ghosh also believes that the novel operates more comfortably “in a ‘sense of place,’ reveling in its unique power to evoke mood and atmosphere.” 10 If we accept Ghosh’s theoretical stance, however, we are forced to admit that neither the pre-Oil culture of the novel, nor the post-Oil culture of the novel fits within his paradigm. Rob Nixon describes the pre-Oil nomadic culture of the Bedouins in the novel as “a form of belonging in motion shaped to an arid world,” and claims, “severance from their nomadic heritage becomes a mark of their new, oil-inflicted homelessness.” 11 Similarly, Ghosh explains, “the experiences associated with oil are lived out within a space that is no place and international.” 12 Yet neither Ghosh nor Nixon considers that oil changes Bedouin culture because it forces the Bedouin to ground themselves in a place–Harran. The working-class Arabs who settle in Harran form a new home and community as a consequence of petro-capitalism. It is in this way that Munif clearly depicts the places of oil.

Taking this into account would strengthen Boullata’s assertion that Munif combines Western novelistic traditions and Arab narrative traditions to convey social change. Boullata claims that Munif’s novels mark “a new beginning in modern Arabic fiction,” which he makes in response to novelist John Updike’s critique of the novel. 13 Updike claims that Munif’s novel relinquishes some of its novelistic character because it does not have a typical protagonist, and therefore is nearly bereft of “that sense of individual moral adventure–of that evolving individual in varied and roughly equal battle with a world of circumstance–which, since Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, has distinguished the novel from the fable and the chronicle.” 14 Instead of concerning itself with one solitary hero, or protagonist, Updike writes “Cities of Salt is concerned, instead, with men in the aggregate,” which is true enough, given that Munif’s focus is not on one solitary person whose struggles and conflicts propel the plot forward. 15

But, according to Boullata, just because the novel doesn’t have a typical protagonist, does not mean it has no protagonist. Boullata contends that “society as a whole is the protagonist of this novel,” precisely the aggregate of characters that Updike considers alien to novelistic form: 16

The fictional world he [Munif] has created teems

with characters’ [sic] some are strong; others weak; some are

clearly delineated, others summarily sketched; some dominate

many pages of the novel, others leave the page as soon as they

have spoken a few words. But all contribute to form the

society Munif wishes to portray, each giving what he or she is

able to give in order to complete the picture. 17

Boullata believes this “not because the individual is irrelevant or insignificant, but because the aggregate of individuals calls for fictional attention and interest at this juncture of historical circumstance in Arabia.” 18

While Boullata is correct, that “social change [is] the evolving process which shows how society deals with the antagonistic forces encountered in life,” saying that society as a whole is the protagonist is not particularly useful. What Boullata misses is that the growing class consciousness of Harranis is Munif’s way of identifying this specific community as the novel’s protagonist. 19 Boullata does recognize a “growing polarity” within the novel’s society, and insightfully points to the fact that class consciousness emerges in Harran as the result of societal changes:

The narrator now concentrates on the social change to which the people see themselves subjected. He describes the impact of technology on their way of thinking, their traditions and their values; he records their efforts to understand the change and stem its evil aspects; he follows their discussions on the growing polarity within their society, as a select few of their own people are now enticed by material self-interest to align themselves with the Americans as a segregated and culturally different community with better standards of living, strong contacts with the emir, familiarity with modern technology, and a relentless desire to dominate. 20

However, Boullata does not recognize that this class-based societal split is the result of alienation, and that it engenders class consciousness because lower classes in Harran (the Harrani working class and the company workers) become aware of their own lack of rights and powerlessness.

The alienation of the working-class Harranis causes them to unite in protest against the bourgeoisie (the American company, the emir and his men, and the upper-class Arabs). Boullata’s argument, which considers only that the novel illustrates how social change affects three societal groups (the Americans, the emir and the upper-class Arabs, and the Harranis), falls short because it fails to acknowledge that the novel privileges the experiences of the lower classes. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan write:

By and large, literature and culture will be about

things that do not challenge the basic assumptions of the class

structure of society. If and when makers of literature and

culture do take serious issue with those assumptions, their

ideas will either be silenced or treated with verbal violence on

the part of the cultural apparatuses controlled by those with

economic power. 21

Cities of Salt privileges the plight of the lower-class Bedouin, exposing their inhumane treatment at the hands of the Americans and the emir’s police force, and satirizing the Arab elites. It is for these reasons that the novel was banned in Saudi Arabia. Nothing better illustrates the validity of Ghosh’s statement that petrofiction is an embarrassment to both America and the Middle East, than the censorship of this novel by the Saudi government.

This novel “challenge[s] the basic assumptions of the class structure of society” by recording the growing animosity of the alienated workers with the emergence of class consciousness:

The shift ended, and all the men drifted home to the two sectors like streams coursing down a slope, one broad and one small, the Americans to their camp and the Arabs to theirs, the Americans to their swimming pool, where their racket could be heard in the nearby barracks behind the barbed wire. When silence fell, the workers guessed that the Americans had gone into their air-conditioned rooms whose thick curtains shut everything out: sunlight, dust, flies, and Arabs. 22

The mounting unrest of the Arab workers and the citizens of Harran is further illustrated by two unrelated incidents: the personnel office’s requirement that each worker be interviewed “to determine their classification,” and the accidental death of Mizban, a working-class Arab. As a result of Mizban’s death, his brother Hajem (another worker) goes mad and “left Harran–or, more precisely, [was] made to leave, with no one the wiser.” 23 When Hajem’s uncle returns with Hajem to demand compensation and retribution for Mizban’s death, the working class is further agitated and alienated: “Now, Hajem’s reappearance in Harran was a painfully obvious indication of the treatment of these human creatures and the way the Americans viewed them.” 24 Hajem and his uncle are detained by the emir’s men and refused any type of retribution by the company. Word of Hajem’s return incites agitation throughout Harran: “Mizban’s death months before had caused a great deal of silent unrest among the workers, the recent interviews had aroused much fear and suspicion in everyone, and nothing had been done to ease these ill feelings, which had spread to Harran itself, thus … the situation could bear no further strain or disruption.” 25

Once the workers are alienated, two additional incidents incite the workers to revolt: one is the murder of a Harrani citizen, Mufaddi al-Jeddan, and the other is the laying off of twenty-three employees by the Americans. Mufaddi al-Jeddan exemplifies the pre-capitalist Bedouin: “Mufaddi had never worked for money and did not hide his contempt for it, nor did he trade his services for favors. He got extremely angry when anyone offered to pay him, no matter how much or how little.” 26 Mufaddi, who is the only healer in Harran until the arrival of an upper-class doctor, becomes a lower-class figure openly antagonistic to petro-capitalism. Standing in front of the upper class Dr. Subi’s office, Mufaddi screams, “People of Harran, money has corrupted many before you. It has corrupted nations and kingdoms. Money enslaves, it subjugates, but it never brings happiness,” specifically linking the new community’s self-consciousness to the opposing force of money in the economy. 27

Mufaddi’s fate emphasizes the importance of class pressures in Munif’s presentation of the novel. According to Rivkin and Ryan, “In moments of extremity … protestors against the system will be shot or put in jail.” 28 Mufaddi is the first resident in the emir’s jail. Mufaddi is jailed several times and the final time he is told either to work in the town’s stone quarry or to leave Harran forever. When Mufaddi does neither, he is murdered at the behest of Johar, the commander of the newly formed Desert Army. Mufaddi’s body is found by Ibn Naffeh, a respected, and puritanically religious Harrani citizen. The day of Mufaddi’s burial, “all Harran turned out to bid him farewell.” 29 The narrator emphasizes Mufaddi’s importance to the Harranis: “The people of Harran were to remember Mufaddi al-Jeddan, and this particular day, for many, many years to come,” but the immediate result is alienation among the workers who now view Mufaddi as a symbol of their struggle, as after the funeral, “a strong, overwhelming grief stormed the quiet houses, leaving no home or heart unpenetrated…. People suddenly realized that they were more grief stricken than they had imagined, and they enumerated the many, many reasons why.” 30

What results from this alienation is a class-based strike that coalesces in response to the actions of the upper class. Two days after Mufaddi’s funeral comes the final straw. First, the emirate publicly proclaims the case of Mufaddi’s murder closed, although no murderer has been caught, and later the same day, the company lays off twenty-three workers. The company posts a notice early in the workday, which is read to the workers by Fawaz al-Hathal. Hearing he is laid off, one of the workers exclaims: “They just threw us out without giving us a reason, as if we had no rights.” 31 After news of the lay-offs spreads, many men don’t report back to work, even after threats of termination come from the company and threats of beatings come from Johar. After several small violent outbursts by the angry workers, they go to Harran, gathering the support of the rest of the workers and the Harrani townspeople, who begin marching in the town. Alienation leads them to the open resistance that drives the plot toward its climax. A working-class revolt erupts when Johar’s men trap three workers (who are attempting to retrieve their personal belongings) in their barracks: “The people of Harran … felt something changing inside them. They felt heartache; they felt that they could no longer bear to stay in this place…. Even the strength and discipline in the face of adversity that some of them possessed now failed.” 32

As the revolt culminates, Munif manipulates novelistic convention, describing the mob of Harranis as one, and enabling readers to understand how the united Harrani working-class is a unified protagonist. When the Harranis unite against the violent attack of the three workers by the police, the narrator says, “The masses of people moved as one man.” 33 The mass of angry working-class Harranis are described as one again: “Within moments the people became like a flame, or a tempestuous wind. They feared nothing and cared for no consequences…. The people were charging, a human flood, swarming forward like locusts.” 34 Though, it would seem odd in a Western novel to find a protagonist only at the end of a novel, Munif’s decision makes the form of the novel mirror its content, as the story is more about the collective imagination of this group into a community in direct opposition to their economic oppressors.



Although the petro-capitalist society Munif creates in Cities of Salt is fictional, Michael J. Watts describes the emergence of the same type of petrocapitalist society in Nigeria, “in which a key resource (petroleum) and a logic of extraction figure centrally in the making and breaking of community.” 35 Drawing from Benedict Anderson’s seminal text on nationalism, Imagined Communities, in which Anderson defines nations as “imagined political communities,” Watts argues that Nigeria imagines its community “through and with oil–the communities are ‘naturalized’ in relation to the effects, social, environmental, political, of oil exploration and production–but produces forms of rule and identity that are often fragmented, unruly, and violent.” 36 Watts’ paradigm is especially useful to an analysis of Cities of Salt.

Since the novel’s imagined community, one imagined through oil, does not fit neatly within Anderson’s paradigm, the novel’s hybrid form (imagined community as protagonist) mirrors the hybrid formation of the novel’s imagined community. By adapting Anderson’s ideas, Watts’ point that “within the maelstrom of capitalist modernity, the possibilities for community are almost endless” is borne out in this novel. 37

Anderson defines a nation as an “imagined political community.” 38 Anderson’s main thesis is that nations are formed through imagined political communities as a direct result of print-capitalism. These communities are imagined because “the members … will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lies the image of their communion.” 39 Anderson also holds that a nation “is imagined as a community, because … it is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.” 40 This comradeship is what unites the community, making people “willing to die for such limited imaginings.” 41

Anderson’s points are vital to understanding the formation of an imagined community as a result of petro-capitalism instead of print-capitalism, and are key to understanding the imagined community in this novel. Oral tales, instead of written texts, are what enable the community to be imagined. As a result of the dispersion of Bedouin at the beginning of the novel from Wadi al-Uyoun (the oasis community) to other parts of the Arabian Peninsula, and the relocation of Bedouin at Harran, many oral tales get transmitted and ingrained in Bedouin society. These tales, which take root and blossom in Harran as a part of cultural and class myths, ultimately enable this group of individuals to imagine themselves as a cohesive community.

The type of fraternal comradeship Anderson considers vital to the formation of an imagined community is present in Cities of Salt. It begins with the residents of Wadi al-Uyoun and is also what unifies the residents of Harran when they revolt against the American company and the emir. Since Harran is the primary location in which the novel takes place, the Harranis are part and parcel of the imagined community of working-class Arabs within the novel. The imagined community is visible through the eyes of the Harranis who imagine their community “through and with oil.” 42 The Harranis imagine their community when they realize that they do not have the same rights as the bourgeoisie.

Because the Harranis are an oral culture, and their imagined communities do not develop as a result of print-capitalism, the main way the Harranis imagine their community is through specters and oral tales that they read like texts from the past. They use these specters to imagine their community, which is restricted only to their class and culture, and stands in opposition to the bourgeoisie.

The first of these spectral figures, Miteb al-Hathal, is the ancestral father of Wadi al-Uyoun. An oasis in the desert, Wadi al-Uyoun is an Edenic location. Miteb symbolizes the origin of the imagined community in the novel and that community’s Edenic past. Miteb is the ancestral father of the indigenous tribe, the Atoum, and serves as the people’s ancestral leader and spectral protector. An ancestral figure is important to the Bedouin because one of the only distinctions people of the wadi drew between one another was “the exact kinship to the ancestor al-Aoun, who was considered the wadi’s chief in spite of the fact that he had died long years ago.” 43 Miteb al-Hathal is the eldest of the al-Hathal clan, and is the direct ancestral leader whose father and grandfather fought the Turks who used to occupy the wadi:

People still remembered Jazi al-Hathal and what he had done to the Turks forty or fifty years before, making their occupation of Wadi al-Uyoun an unbearable hell. He would lie low for so long that he was thought to have died or been killed, and was almost forgotten by everyone, including the Turks themselves. Then he’d burst onto the scene, killing, burning, and destroying, only to escape back into the desert with what he seized, staying there long enough to be forgotten again; then he’d be back, making the wadi a veritable hell. 44

Jazi’s rebellions began “even before the people had begun to think of the Turks as enemies,” much like Miteb’s behavior upon the arrival of the Americans. 45 According to Roger Allen, Miteb is an “almost mythical figure” who is suspicious of the Americans from the start and even tries to warn the wadi’s residents that the coming of the Americans “bode[s] ill for the community.” 46

Like Jazi, Miteb becomes a figure of sporadic resistance, and is almost forgotten several times before he is spoken of or sighted. Where Jazi’s appearances spur physical military attacks on the alien Turks, Miteb’s spectral reappearances spur an ideological resistance to the alien Americans by reminding the Harranis that they are all in a similar situation. These reminders serve to bind the Harranis into their imagined community. With the permanent arrival of the Americans, and the demolition of the Wadi community and the diaspora of its residents, the novel’s plot begins to crystallize. When the class antagonisms begin in Harran, mention of Miteb al-Hathal is never far off:

Once again Miteb al-Hathal filled the camp with anxiety, combined with a silent but growing antagonism between the workers and the Americans…. The workers slowly returned to their normal routine, and began to forget Miteb al-Hathal, or pretend to forget him, though rumors resurfaced time and again, circulated by shepherds and passing travelers, which assured them that something was going to happen soon, and it would be Miteb al-Hathal’s doing.” 47

According to Ghosh, after the destruction of the wadi, “Miteb mounts his white Omani she-camel and vanishes into the hills, becoming a prophetic spectral figure who emerges only occasionally from the desert to cry doom and to strike terror into those who collaborate with the oil-men.” 48 Similarly, Allen suggests that Miteb’s “disappearance and the intermittent reported sightings of him from the community become symbolic of the disappearance of an old way of life and of suspicions regarding the motivations of the foreign visitors.” 49

Although Miteb is the most powerful spectral presence throughout the novel, he is not the only one. Another figure whose memory helped to solidify the imagined community and to serve as a site of resistance and unification is Mufaddi al-Jeddan. During the climactic riot, the presences of both Miteb al-Hathal and Mufaddi al-Jeddan make themselves felt on the collective protagonist:

Those who arrived at the compound late said that they had seen from afar a man on a white camel pursing the soldiers and firing at them and attacking the main gate of the compound, and many of them said that the man was Miteb al-Hathal. Still others swore with absolute certainty that they saw a phantom shaped like a man flying above their heads, and it looked exactly like Mufaddi al-Jeddan. They said that the soldiers who fired their rifles were frightened to the point of utter terror and that most of their bullets were fired at the phantom, at Mufaddi al-Jeddan. They reported that the man’s clothing was full of holes made by the bullets. 50

Likewise, we find out that, “Everyone in Harran saw Mufaddi at least once late that night.” 51

The third spectral figure in the novel is the truck driver, Akoub. Akoub transports both residents and necessary commodities into and out of Harran, and becomes an important member of the Harrani working class. Although Akoub is Armenian by birth, he becomes an adopted citizen of Harran. Akoub is one of the small businessmen who obtains work when petro-capitalism emerges in Harran, and there becomes a need for a transport service. However, when petro-capitalism begins to thrive in Harran, highways are built, and many newer, faster trucks are imported from America. Akoub’s smaller, slower truck is no longer useful, and he cannot make a living. After Akoub’s sudden death, Harran memorializes him as one of their collective specters. When he dies, the workers skip work to attend Akoub’s burial: “They simply informed the personnel office that one of their colleagues had passed away, and that they had to attend his funeral…. Beyond this measure of solidarity, Ibn Zamel, Ibn Hathal and every one of the other workers did what they could to express their love and respect for Akoub.” 52 Even so, Akoub’s death made citizens of Harran uneasy because he was not Muslim: “It was not like any other death: shortly after word of his death circulated they began to wonder how and where to bury him, and who would take charge of the arrangements.” 53 Because he is not Muslim, he is given an unorthodox burial presided over by Ibn Naffeh, and his tombstone reads, “HERE LIE THE REMAINS OF YAACOUB AL-HARRANI,” marking his identity as a resident of Harran, but also and more importantly, as a member of the novel’s imagined community. 54

Like Miteb al-Hathal and Mufaddi al-Jeddan, Akoub appears in the aftermath of the revolt. After two injured workers are transported by truck to a hospital in the next town, they report: “‘We died over and over again,’ … ‘The truck was flying–floating through the air, but Abu Yaacoub rode it like a champion, and here we are.'” 55

Just like Ibn Naffeh becomes an unofficial religious leader when he presides over the burial of Akoub, he becomes the unofficial religious leader leading a speech in the mosque after the revolt. This marks the Harranis’ return to religion, which the novel suggests will be the ideological mechanism of their imagination of themselves as a cohesive social unit. Ibn Naffeh presents a political interpretation of the Koran when he “[chooses] his texts for the Koran carefully” that paves the way for the creation of an Islamic nationalist discourse initiated by Ibn Naffeh. He also relies on the concept of imagined communities to forward his ideological stance to resist oppression and the inequality of human rights imposed by the bourgeoisie. Ibn Naffeh’s radical discourse is a product of the working class’ anger at their inhumane treatment by the bourgeoisie. The novel ends with Ibn Naffeh’s words, which suggest that seeds are planted for the emergence of an Islamic national community. Nixon suggests that “[Munif’s] novels help track the human consequences of America’s oil-driven entanglements with Islamic repression, political unrest, and environmental devastation.” 56 By revising conventional novelistic form and portraying a community as the novel’s protagonist, Munif is able to give expression to political, social, and religious concerns, and is able to illustrate how these concerns have intertwined as the result of a class struggle. In this way, Munif has successfully given literary expression to the oil encounter.


(1.) Rob Nixon, “The Hidden Lives of Oil,” The Chronicle of Higher Education 5 (Apr. 2002): p. 2.

(2.) Issa J. Boullata, “Social Change in Munif’s Cities of Salt,” Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures 8.2 (1998): p. 6.

(3.) Ibid., p. 4.

(4.) Michael J. Watts, “Antimonies of Community: Some Thoughts on Geography, Resources and Empire,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 29.2 (2004): 195-216. Watts’ definition of petro-capitalism refers to a particular type of capitalism in which the primary commodity is oil.

(5.) Amitav Ghosh, “Petrofiction: The Oil Encounter and the Novel,” in The Imam and the Indian. (Ravi Dayal: Delhi, 2002), p. 75.

(6.) Ibid., p. 75.

(7.) Ibid., p. 75.

(8.) Ibid., pp. 77-78.

(9.) Ibid., p. 79. Ghosh’s belief runs counter to Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of hybrid discourse. In a broad sense, Bakhtin argues that novelistic discourse is social and contains different languages and styles through which competing voices can merge into a single voice, a hybrid, from which new ideologies emerge. Even in Theroux’s translation into one language, different voices are present.

(10.) Ibid., p. 79.

(11.) “Hidden Lives,” p. 3.

(12.) “Petrofiction,” p. 79.

(13.) “Social Change,” p. 12.

(14.) John Updike, “Satan’s Work and Silted Cisterns,” The New Yorker, 17 October 1988, 117-21. Quoted in “Social Change,” p. 2.

(15.) Ibid., p. 2.

(16.) “Social Change,” p. 11.

(17.) Ibid., p. 11.

(18.) Ibid., p. 11.

(19.) Ibid., p. 11.

(20.) Ibid., p. 6.

(21.) Literary Theory, p. 231.

(22.) Ibid., p. 391.

(23.) Ibid., p. 341.

(24.) Ibid., p. 357.

(25.) Ibid., p. 357.

(26.) Ibid., p. 547.

(27.) Ibid., p. 553.

(28.) Literary Theory, p. 232.

(29.) Cities of Salt, p. 574.

(30.) Ibid., pp. 576, 575.

(31.) Ibid., p. 587.

(32.) Ibid., p. 612.

(33.) Ibid., p. 613.

(34.) Ibid., p. 615.

(35.) “Antimonies of Community,” p. 195.

(36.) Ibid., p. 195.

(37.) Ibid., p. 198.

(38.) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Rev. ed., (London: Verso, 1991), p. 6

(39.) Ibid., p. 6.

(40.) Ibid., p. 7.

(41.) Ibid., p. 7.

(42.) “Antimonies of Community,” p. 199.

(43.) Cities of Salt, p. 10.

(44.) Ibid., p. 10.

(45.) Ibid., p. 10.

(46.) Roger Allen, The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction, 2nd ed., (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1995), p. 93.

(47.) Cities of Salt, pp. 512-13.

(48.) “Petrofiction,” p. 82.

(49.) The Arabic Novel, p. 93.

(50.) Cities of Salt, p. 616.

(51.) Ibid., p. 619.

(52.) Ibid., p. 502.

(53.) Ibid., p. 502.

(54.) Ibid., p. 503.

(55.) Ibid., p. 618.

(56.) “Hidden Lives,” p. 2.

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