Young Mukhtar is frozen in time, gazing at his beloved Fatma as she disappears into the streets of Tripoli, Libya, destined to a life of prostitution. Around these young lovers, Bushnaf weaves a compelling network of images: a litter-strewn park, a bewitching Italian statue and a fluttering red scarf. Through these images, imbued with social, historical and existential import, Bushnaf paints a dark portrait of a country in crisis and an individual, alone at the centre of conflicting ideologies, all attempting to explain his existence away.
With its satirical and semi-journalistic style, Chewing Gum is an existential quest to understand how a society exists beneath a repressive dictatorship. The rhythmic act of chewing relentlessly continues as individuals, time and land turn to waste. In this debut novel, no one escapes the critical gaze of a writer who witnessed first-hand the brutality of Gaddafi’s regime.
About the Author
Mansour Bushnaf is a playwright, novelist and essayist, born in Libya, 1954. He was imprisoned for ten years in the early 1970s because of his political activism and critical writings and is renowned for his award-winning satirical plays. Chewing Gum is his first novel. He lives and works in Tripoli.
About the Publisher
Darf Publishers is a London-based independent publisher with diversity and inclusion at the heart of its work.
Established in 1981 as an English imprint for the long-standing Arab publisher Dar Fergiani which was established by the late Mohamed Bashir Fergiani in 1952 in Libya- based Arab publisher Dar Fergiani, it focussed for three decades on publishing and reprinting classical history and travel books about Middle East, Africa and Asia in English. Since 2014, Darf shifted focus to establish itself as a leading publisher in translating new emerging writers from around the world into English, including works of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.