Fiction Map of the World- Oman

by Travelbag on 21 January 2015, 10:01AM Fiction Map of the World- Oman

 

The Arab state of Oman, in southwest Asia, is different to many of its nearest neighbours. This is a part of the world that has become famed for its material wealth and visual appeal. You only have to look at Dubai to see how far this idea can be taken – it is one of the driest places on the planet, yet it is home to some of the grandest water parks in the world. 
In many ways, Oman is different. It does not really get the chance to say it owns the ‘biggest’ of anything. Yet, the immutable feeling is that it simply does not need to – a deep sense of cultural pride and a strong, robust infrastructure ensures that this country continues to be one of the safest, friendliest and most fascinating in the world to visit. 
Essential Holiday Reading
For Oman, literature has always meant poetry. In fact, there are only a handful of nationally acclaimed novelists, and it can be difficult to source English translations of their work. If you are looking to get your hands on a cultural treat, for your next holiday, you are advised to take a short hop out of Oman and check out Arab authors like Etel Adnan and Suheir Hammad. These bold female writers are really something to be admired, particularly when it comes to their explorations of gender, class, war, racism and the true nature of extremism. For a deeply moving read, pick up Sitt Marie Rose, by Etel Adnan. 
 
Notable Omani Books
The single most famous book to come out of the Arab world has to be The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran. It was originally published in 1923, but has never been out of print. The book itself is made up of 26 prose poetry ‘essays,’ which are shaped around a loose travel narrative. To be precise, the prophet, Almustafa, is about to board a boat when he gets into conversation with a group of people – the story then progresses as he explores, in turn, the subjects of work, marriage, children, giving, love, eating and drinking, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, and so on. 
   
Notable Omani Authors
It has not always been easy for writers in the Arab states – just ask Mohammed Moulessehoul. This novelist gained critical acclaim in Algeria very quickly, but only under a pen name adopted from the name of his own wife. This secrecy was due to the fear of military censorship and intervention, and the writer did not reveal his true identity until he had left the army and the country for good. Whilst writing as Yasmina Khadra, Moulessehoul penned the novel Wolf Dreams, which details the tragic story of Nafa Walid, as he becomes drawn into the Islamic Fundamentalist movement. For something a little more magical, pick up Time of White Horses, by Ibrahim Nasrallah. It follows the fortunes of a chief elder, his son and their most beloved horse. 
      
Notable Omani Films
Whilst several Hollywood films have been shot on location in Oman, the country itself does not really have a national film industry. As of 2007, there was only a single Omani movie, called Al-Boom. Yet, the recent blockbuster Captain Phillips was filmed in the country. It is a movie adaptation of the real life kidnap of US merchant mariner, Richard Phillips, who was held for five days by armed pirates, on a lifeboat in the Gulf of Aden. A 2011 British crime thriller, called Killer Elite, was also shot in the area – it features Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. 
   
Essential Holiday Listening
For essential holiday listening, take a peek at the beguiling Nancy Anjram. This powerful musical icon has been performing since she was a child, releasing her first album at 15, and eventually going on to become the face of pop music in the Middle East. She was described as one of the most influential showbiz personalities in the region, and her particular brand of pop is both soulful and melodic, defined by its catchy lyrics and irresistible beats. For anybody with a penchant for the lighter side of life, Nancy Anjram is the perfect addition to a relaxing trip to Oman. 
    
Notable Omani Musicians
The multi-talented Palestinian singer, songwriter, composer and director Haitham Shomali is considered to be one of the most skilled musicians in the Middle East. He started to master his first musical instruments at the tender age of seven, after accompanying his older brothers to musical performances. By the age of nine, he could play a total of 13 different instruments. After a move to the United States, Shomali made it big with first single ‘What Have You Done to Me?’ His particular brand of Arabic infused pop and soul is very popular in this part of the world, and it makes a great soundtrack for a lazy day on the beach, or an afternoon spent strolling through the shopping malls.
  

 


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