A Land Without Jasmine by Wajdi Al-Ahdal

book cover of A Land Without Jasmine

I feel like something was lost in translation between me and this book. The blurb described it as a “satirical detective novel”, but I think it really helps if you know in advance that it totally subverts the genre by not giving you a satisfying ending. Then again, maybe the different literary tradition of Arabic means the detective genre has different conventions! I don’t know.

Aside from that, though, this is a novella with a social conscience, more a critique of Yemeni society than really a detective novel. I enjoyed it.


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.