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Farah Abdessamad. The new English translation of Impostures from Basra-born Al-Harīrī (aka the Arab poet known as Abū Muhammad al-Qāsim ibn Alī ibn Muhammad ibn Uthmān al-Harīrī)revives the “eloquent rogue” genre of classical Arabic literature and follows the medieval adventures of a cheeky impersonator-in-chief, Abu Zayd. Through his elaborate trickeries, Abu Zayd superimposes reality with confounding pretence. Ebullient, extravagant and picaresque, his character metamorphoses and uses different decoys to fool his audience. Is the world around him all that gullible? Maybe not.

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