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Parallels and Paradoxes

Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said: Parallels and Paradoxes

  • Edward W. Said
  • Nonfiction
  • Out now
  • English English
  • 90 EGP
  • Diwan
reviewed by
Salma Tantawi
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Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said: Parallels and Paradoxes

A book
without a defined topic can be a turn-off for some readers, especially in
nonfiction work. However, Parallels and Paradoxes presents the exact
opposite. The book opens so many threads of discussions that it would
be hard to say what its main idea is; it stimulates lots of ideas on various
topics in the reader’s mind after finishing the book.

Parallels
and Paradoxes
starts
with a simple question asked by critic and writer Ara Guzelimian: where are you
at home? Argentinean-Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim writes that, though it’s
a cliché, he feels that ’home is where the music is.’ He also says that for
him, Jerusalem and everything it stands for historically and culturally is home
as well.

On the
other hand, Palestinian-American literary theorist Edward W. Said writes that
the whole sentimentalism of ‘home’ is overrated. Thus, he feels at home wherever
he can wander about, such as New York City or Cairo.

This only
starts a dialogue of ideas and opinions between two great intellectual authors
who also happen to be friends. The dialogue tackles issues such as music,
politics, religion, literature and society. The authors discuss all those
topics in an interesting, sophisticated manner that allows each of them to
present his point of view.

The style
of writing absorbs the reader as well and the smooth flow of dialogue makes it
difficult to put the book down. In fact, it feels less like reading a dialogue
and more like watching an interesting debate unfold between two literary
greats.

Each
chapter asks a question that initiates an interchange of ideas, which may get
carried into subtopics and perspectives, mostly revolving around music and its
effect on culture. It’s refreshing to read two diverse opinions, taking in mind
that one of them is Palestinian and the other Israeli, discuss several topics so
openly, while pointing out the irony of a world who shares the same Big Mac
meal yet have so much conflict, or so they write in their own words.

Parallels
and Paradoxes
is a
thought-provoking read that would urge one to question if contradictory is
really just a human nature.

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Author Bio

Daniel Barenboim, born in Buenos Aires in 1942, started piano lessons at the age of five and gave his first official concert in 1950. He is currently General Music Director of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin.  Edward W. Said was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was an influential cultural critic and author, known best for his book Orientalism (1978).

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