The Blue Manuscript (Hardcover)

By Sabiha Al Khemir

Verso, 9781844673087, 307pp.

Publication Date: November 17, 2008

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/15/2009)

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A quest for the legendary Blue Manuscript of medieval Islam becomes a voyage of self-discovery for characters from east and west in this fascinating, many-layered novel. 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.But as social and cultural preconceptions amongst both visitors and hosts start to unravel, the mystery seems only to deepen and darken ... What do the fables of the village storyteller mean for the westerners, and can their emotional equilibrium and scholarly integrity survive exposure to the realities of the world they have studied from afar?

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.

About the Author

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.

Praise For The Blue Manuscript

“A strange and engrossing cross-cultural fable.”—Robert Irwin

“It positively teems with colours, sounds, scents and languages ... The Blue Manuscript could hardly be more timely and apposite.”—Charles Palliser