Return to Dar Al-Basha: A Novel
Return to Dar al-Basha by the contemporary Tunisian author Hassan Nasr depicts the childhood of Murtada al-Shamikh and his return forty years later to his home in the medina or old city of Tunis. After being taken from his mother and raised in his father's home where he was physically abused and emotionally marginalized, Murtada spends a life of anxiety wandering the world. His return is prompted by a mysterious visit from one of his father's Sufi friends as he roams the desert in Mauritania. Murtada retraces his steps through the medina to his family's house in anticipation of a possible reunion with his troubled father, vividly reliving sights, smells, and sounds from his childhood and evoking his childhood initiation into Islamic mysticism as he experiences a personal journey of the spirit across space and time.
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Abd al-Jabbar Abu al-Qasim al-Arabi al-Hafsiya al-Mutanabbi Al-Shanfara al-Tayyib Albert Memmi areas arms asked Aunt Munjiya beautiful began body child colonial colors dark deep desert dome door dream Duja everything eyes ez-Zitouna Mosque face Farid father fear feel feet felt fingers fled Frantz Fanon gaze glances grandfather grandmother grasp Habib Bourguiba hand Hassan Nasr head heard heart Ibn Hisham Ibn Khaldun ink spot inside Isma'il Pasha jebba laughed light lived looked Master Abd al-Wahhab memory mother Murtada al-Shamikh never night once pain passed past patient and triumph phoneme poem prayer Qur'an school reached recitation Salih al-Fayyash scream secret Shama sheshya shrine side Sidi Mahrez silently slipped souks soul Street stretched Sufi tell things told took Tunis Tunisian turned Uncle Mansur verses voice walking walls watched William Hutchins woman women Zuhra