Conversations with My Father, Adonis

Ninar Esber

Translated by Lorna Scott Fox


6.25 x 7.75 inches, 232pp. October 2008

ISBN : 9781905422906

Rs  425.00 (HB)
$24.95 (HB)
£17.50 (HB)

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Artist meets writer; young woman meets older man; daughter meets father. All these encounters are played out in the arresting conversations between the artist Ninar Esber (b. 1971) and the father she hardly knew, the Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis (b. 1930). Esber passionately challenges Adonis on subjects ranging from fundamentalism to animal rights, from feminism to aesthetics; Adonis responds with amusement and judicious wisdom, not concealing the contradictions of a patriarchal humanist libertarian. On Esber's side, the poignancy of growing up without a father becomes a drama with Oedipal overtones.


This intensely personal two-hander is at the same time representative of many contemporary displacements. Comparing their experiences of war, exile and cultural rootlessness, two individuals differently marked by Middle Eastern history seek a common ground in Paris. An intimate, uncensored, ultimately unresolved search for communication and forgiveness. 

Ninar Esber is an artist and a writer. She lives and works in Paris.

Adonis (born Ali Ahmad Said in Al Qassabin) is a Syrian-Lebanese poet, literary critic, translator and editor. Professor of Arabic Literature, Lebanese University (1970), he has also taught at the Collège de France, Georgetown University and the University of Geneva. Some of his works include Abjadiyyah thaniyyah (1994), If Only the Sea Could Sleep (1994), The Pages of Day and Night (1994) and A Time between Ashes and Roses (2005).


Lorna Scott Fox is a journalist, critic and translator presently living in London after 18 years in Mexico and Spain, where she wrote for the local press and produced art catalogue essays, while regularly contributing to the London Review of Books. Her translations from French include Vincent Descombes, Objects of All Sorts (1986; with Jeremy Harding) and her translations from Spanish include Olivier Debroise, David Alfaro Siquieros, Portrait of a Decade (1997) and Rubén Gallo(ed.), The Mexico City Reader (2004).

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