Giorgio Gigliotti, “Islamitudine”: the first trilogy of short stories on the Islamic world written by a Western author

Desert adventures, historical portraits, epic revolutions, mystical adventures, colonial wars, murders, sex, scandals, mysteries, ironic and dramatic slices of daily life. The political vicissitudes that have marked Middle Eastern societies, reported in such detail, are revealed through narrative tricks that transform their non-fiction essence into literary value. From the contradictions of its chaotic cities to the ascetic silence of the desert. In the background the total mingling between East and West. Body and soul, their extreme essence, in an intricate maze of lives. Critics praised Gigliotti’s work to the point of calling it “The new Thousand and One Nights”. Sometimes raw but poetic and cinematic writing. An unmissable work that does not spare the painful analysis of that world but which at the same time reveals the passion for a complex and still unknown culture.

George Gigliotti, journalist, writer, active in international cooperation, has almost 40 years of experience in the sector, including studies, publications and travel. He lived in North Africa for a long time. A passion that has become his job and vice versa. “Hotel Allah” (2008), body and soul, their extreme essence, in an intricate maze of lives. “Bread and Allah” (2019), a new social and cultural synthesis after the Arab revolutions. “Dust of Allah” (2022), the mingling of East and West reaches its climax.

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HOTEL ALLAH

14 years after the first edition (3 reprints), Hotel Allah is back. A handful of tales of Arab setting and experience. The life of a young woman who seeks her liberation through prostitution in Marrakech, the massacre of a family in brutal 1990s Algeria, a pensioner’s search for real or illusory love in Tunis, the last days of the Ottoman caliphate , the amorous ups and downs of a worker in a date factory, the ambiguous sexual relationship of a Frenchman, the devastating relationship between father and son consumed in the subjection of traditions, and yet supernatural, tragic, ironic, amusing tales to finish in a short novel set in the desert, a metaphorical journey of the spirit. Rare case, in European literature, of a Western writer who lived in Islamic countries and dedicated his life and his work to the study of the East and its surroundings. Between veils and harems, minarets and desert, dream and reality, mysteries and murders, with a writing that goes from poetic to cinematic, from yellow to intimism, an unknown and fascinating world is told. There is no shortage of stringent criticisms of “absolutism”, but the love for this complex culture wins with enthralling and kidnapping words.

BREAD AND ALLAH

After the Arab Spring, the story of the Islamic world continues. A fresco, a literary work of universal value which, beyond the issues addressed, contains an important added value, to make known a reality that is talked about a lot but of which little is known, if not stereotypes due to guilty or mediocre information. 12 short stories, the last one a short novel, set in the Islamic world. History, politics, everyday life and mysticism unfold in a gripping book that continues the saga of the author’s first work, the critically acclaimed Hotel Allah. A former journalist harassed by the regime finds the strength to demonstrate against the dictator who is about to be overthrown only to be disappointed again, a young man upset by a nightmare decides to embark on a journey into the desert meeting mysterious characters, a woman finds herself in bed with a man while her husband returns home, a Neapolitan boy leaves to fight with Isis, a Sufi master meets an old student and discusses the maximum systems, the melodramatic day of a young Arab grappling with traditions and stereotypes, a bomb explodes in Gaza City, an aunt terrorizes her nephews in the shade of a palm grove, a boy is a guide in his city between prostitution and cynicism, a professor tells his story between hypocrisy and simulations that are suddenly revealed, up to the scandalous story of a very young emigrated to Rome, his emancipation through a controversial love story and the tiring return home.

DUST OF ALLAH

The trilogy of short stories on the Mediterranean Islamic world closes. The odyssey of a Moroccan immigrant, the adventurous life of Egypt’s greatest Arab singer, the vicissitudes of a young homosexual in Tunisia, the unexpected return to Earth of De Saint Exupéry’s hero, a metaphorical and poetic journey, the story of the thirty years pre and post colonial reported through a narrative device, and still moments of everyday life, ironic, funny, dramatic and the latest stories that introduce the reader to the mystical Sufi world, and in the desperate and transgressive one of its great metropolises, from drug addiction to youthful excesses. The 11 stories contained in this third book are a fresco on human existence, without stereotypes and without trivializations. In the latter work, the mixture between East and West is even more evident, pieces of the two worlds that sometimes interface and unpredictably get confused. Stories that do not spare a bitter criticism of the contemporary Arab world. But, at the same time, through these pages, the author has the opportunity to declare his love for a complex and mysterious culture, which embraces the contradictions of its turbulent cities or the ascetic silence of the desert. In summary, spirit and matter meet and merge. There is nothing more human and as such universal than his heroic, pathetic, losers, arrogant, unpredictable, raw and crazy characters. Between life and death existence is revealed. An adventure in itself.

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GIORGIO GIGLIOTTI: who is the Calabrian writer

Giorgio Gigliotti is a journalist and writer. Born in Calabria, he lives and works in Rome. He collaborates with IlManifesto, Paese Sera and Rinascita, enrolling in the Order of Journalists and founds an artistic association, Art Production, with which he organizes evenings and reviews in Roman clubs and theaters. He works as an actor and director of theatre-poetry. First cultural manager of the Mario Mieli club, he created the “Muccassassina” cult evenings. He then moved to Tunisia for 7 years. Returning to Italy, he became editor-in-chief of the online journal Interact Press. He takes care of the streaming of various events including the Mantua Literature Festival and Enzymes in Rome. He collaborates as a correspondent for Radio 3 Rai in the Maghreb and shoots a documentary on post-terrorism Algeria, organizing exchange meetings with the Euromed Youth project. He writes 9 monographs on Arab Mediterranean countries (history, politics, economy) published by the EU and the Ministries of Labour. In 2008 he published his first book of short stories, Hotel Allah, Rabbit Edition. In 2019 the second, Pane e Allah, Edizioni Ponte Sisto. In 2022 the third, Dust of Allah, Edizioni Ponte Sisto. For the occasion, the box set Islamitudine will be released, containing the three works with new graphics. It is present in 9 anthologies. In 2012 he founded the non-profit organization “CooPerAzione” of which he is president.

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Giorgio Gigliotti, “Islamitudine”: the first trilogy of short stories on the Islamic world written by a Western author