Celestial Bodies is itself a treasure house: an intricately calibrated chaos of familial orbits and conjunctions, of the gravitational pull of secrets.
The New York Times Book Review
Celestial Bodies is a multifaceted story about the expectations of family and society to which people respond differently: some with submissiveness, others with resistance. The story revolves around three sisters and their decisions concerning marriage and love. Mayya marries to get over her first heartbreak and turns her marriage into an emotional emigration; Asma marries out of a sense of duty to a man she does not love, but knows both are able to nurture affection; and Khawla, willing to accept unhappiness in the name of romantic love, chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves. An emotional, historical, geographical, and political study of a microenvironment, Celestial Bodies affords a glimpse at society in all its degrees.
The novel was translated by Barbara Skubic.
Jokha Alharthi has published two collections of short stories and three novels. She rose to international prominence with Celestial Bodies, a novel that won the Man Booker International Prize in 2019. This is the first novel written in Arabic to receive this prestigious prize and the first work by an Omani woman to have a novel translated into English – and Slovenian.
Due to the pandemic and measures against the spread of COVID-19, the literary event with Jokha Alharthi will take place virtually. The recording of the virtual conversation with the author, prepared by the Fabula film crew, will be hosted by Slovenian writer, literary critic and journalist Ana Schnabl. The recording will have Slovenian subtitles and will premiere on Cankarjev dom's website, www.cd-cc.si, and Cankarjev dom's social media channels.