Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs opens with the return of Khalid Bakhit, a government employee, to his hometown in Oman after a time away in the big city, and concludes with his return to the city with a new maturity born of a series of wrenching encounters with reality. Khalid's return home, sparked by his flight from a painful love affair, coincides with events that reveal the force of long-established traditions that have a stranglehold on the town: from racial prejudice, to religious bigotry, to ossified patterns of leadership. Khalid's awakening and transformation are catalyzed by his encounters with a certain "Saturnine poet" who, in the course of chasing after an elusive ode, has stumbled upon this unnamed village. For a period of time "the Saturnine" becomes Khalid's closest companion: listening to his woes, helping him see himself with new eyes, and imparting to him a wisdom from a world beyond, untainted by human smallness.
- The American University in Cairo Press
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