The Blind Sindbad: an Atlas of Sea and War

The Blind Sindbad: an Atlas of Sea and War
(working title)
السندباد الأعمى: أطلس البحر والحرب
(Al sindibad al aama: atlas al bahr wal harb)

Written by

(بثينة العيسى)

Published by


A page-turner about betrayal, guilt, and generational trauma

A tightly wrought tragedy that span two generations against the backdrops of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the 2020 pandemic. This novel is that rare thing: a page-turner that doesn’t compromise on literary style and doesn’t reveal more than it needs to.

The conflict driving the plot is a love triangle that ends in murder. We meet Nadia, Amer, and Nawwaf on a beach trip, where the tragedy of their story that has been unfolding since their university days comes to a head. At the centre of events, though invisible to the adults, is Manayer, Nadia’s and Nawwaf’s child, whose life is shaped by the devastating consequences. A year later, the invasion and resulting chaos propels the devastation even further. The last chapter finds Manayer in the present day, mid pandemic, on her way to confront her father thirty years after the event that tore their worlds apart.

Approximate number of pages: 319 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

This is a well-paced and engaging novel that will have a wide appeal to fans of fiction with a socio-political grounding, as well as readers of family drama, coming of age stories, and war novels. Manayer is an extremely sympathetic central character. We follow her through the trauma of her childhood so that, when we encounter her thirty years later, we feel like we know who she is and how she has become this person. The novel has a strong sense of place and local culture without being exoticising – it invites the reader into a full-fledged world on the characters’ own terms.


Al-Essa weaves a narrative world that raises questions about friendship and love, doubt and certainty, blindness and insight by Al-Fanar Media, April 2022

Reviewed by Nariman Youssef