Sabiha Al Khemir was born in Tunisia. She is an author, illustrator and Islamic art historian. Her publications span fiction, cultural essays, art history and book illustration. She has also written and presented television documentaries, and was the founding director of the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.
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The Blue Manuscript is the ultimate prize for any collector of Islamic treasures. But does it still exist, and if so, can it be found? In search of answers to these questions, an assortment of archaeologists heads for a remote area of Egypt, where they work with local villagers to excavate a promising site. Interspersed with the testimony of the early medieval calligrapher who created the Blue Manuscript, Sabiha Al Khemir’s subtle, graceful narrative builds into a rich tapestry of love, hope, despair, greed, fear and betrayal. Intensified at every turn by the uneasy relationship between Islam past and present, and between Islam and the West, The Blue Manuscript is a novel which will resonate long after the astonishing solution to its mystery has finally been revealed.
“A strange and engrossing cross-cultural fable ... novels, archaeological excavation has become a metaphor for the uncovering of unpleasant truths.”—Robert Irwin, novelist, Middle East Editor of the Times Literary Supplement
“A remarkable novel, skilfully and imaginatively weaving history and human lives across time and continents.”—The Guardian
“Al Khemir seduces readers with the manuscript’s mythical beauty and the philosophy of its art form.”—The Independent
“It positively teems with colours, sounds, scents and languages...The Blue Manuscript could hardly be more timely and apposite.”—Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx