Showing posts with label Raafat Majzoub. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raafat Majzoub. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fetish Systems: Daring Book by Raafat Majzoub Now Available Online

Fetish Systems is a critically acclaimed work written by Raafat Majzoub, one of Lebanon's most promising young authors.  It is now available (to read or to buy) through the author's brand new web site at

The book is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.
Free Preview Available via Google Books.  Click here.

Also check out Raafat Majzoub's Blog (Playplace) titled leitmotif(s):

Fetish Systems is an autobiographical love letter of impotence. it is the pompous imaginary grace after a hysterical loss of of everything;the stepping out of self to look at it from a third person perspective, only to step back in, and narrate a processed first person dysjunct epiphany. the narrator refuses a present tense, hence starts nowhere to end nowhere, in avoidance to admit, in search of an alternative to the optical reception of the real; shies back into itself, into words - not language - to weave a non-place, where everything comes to go.

يروى الكتاب على لسان راوي يحدث نفسه وعشاقه في ماضيه، حاضره ومستقبله وهو ينسج شيئاً فشيئاً سيرته الذاتية عبر قصصه وأحاديثه مازجاً حقيقته وخياله. لا يقدم الكتاب رواية لها تسلسل زمني واضح، ولا بداية، حبكة أو نهاية، بل يمهد في توزيع فقراته حالة الراوي الفكرية والعاطفية بالخطاب المباشر مع القارئ الذي بدوره تتبدل شخصيته في القصة مع تبدل الفقرات. للكتاب أيضاً منحى صوري، بحيث يتم توزيع الفقرات والكلمات على صفحاته بطريقة غير تسلسلية مصمماً على إضافة بعد حسي على المحتوى الفكري المطروح.

(Arabic Summary and Description of the book by its author; taken from his blog entry. Click here to see original entry).

This book is not only daring and courageous; it is also beautifully written, powerful, and difficult to categorize within established literary genres. It is also impossible to forget.

The work seems to function as an autobiographical account that reminds the reader of a love letter, written without regard to time, space, chronology or traditional (expected?) plot development. The result could have easily been chaotic and alienating (and it is, but in an empowering way), yet Majzoub's style of writing keeps the reader interested, curious, often uneasy, but always fully involved in the 'narrative.' We often feel courted by the lyrical quality of the work and the questions that arise--centering on narrating the self, on questioning the alleged impotence that seems to define the work as a whole--ultimately leads the reader to turn inward in an attempt to recuperate the validity of one's own "fetish system."

I absolutely recommend this book and its author, Raafat Majzoub, seems destined for greatness. The only cautionary remark I would make is to toss your inhibitions and pre-expectations aside and to approach this book, perhaps like its jilted lover, in a manner that will enable you to go on a journey that begins nowhere, and ends nowhere. This voyage to and from nowhere is worthwhile, to say the least, and the work as a whole--written by one of Lebanon's most promising young authors--will leave you deliberately uneasy, cleansed, transfixed and transformed.

Ramzi Salti, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Check out Raafat Majzoub's blog (which he aptly describes as his 'playspace') at for musings and creative commentary by this thoughtful/thought provoking writer.

pg. 82 | Fetish Systems

I want to take my camera and leave here for a while,
I want to accidentally drop my phone and step on it, then
instinctively, elephant stampedes – wild horny elephants –
run towards me, their tusks penetrate the air around me,
fertilize it into wind – elephant stampedes, grey flat feet
munch pieces of the ground, plunge in resonance with this
frequency of self – to step on my phone, for I do not want
to talk to people, and other things – including you. I need
to – now – get lost, with my camera, where we would only
talk of clutches with ticks, I would press its hulk, sweat on
it, then wipe the lens blur with my shorts – shorts I would
take off – alone with my camera – and whatever we do,
stays within my focal, its focal, whatever we do, is mine and
its own – whatever is almost nothing, in my inside, where
nothing synonyms everything.

You can also listen to audio samples/reading from this great work at

Here is one sample reading by Hamed Sinno, the lead singer for Mashrou' Leila: 

You can listen to more audio samples/reading from this great work at

Check out teh author's dynamic new web site at

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Raafat Majzoub's Book Reviewed in Kalimat Magazine

Original Post may be found in Issue 04 (Winter 2012) of Kalimat Magazine

Book Review of Raafat Majzoub's Book Fetish Systems

It was the writer Italo Calvino that suggested a writing that—rather than pointing at or recreating an object or character—envelops, surrounds like a fine mist. This
suggests their existence rather than attempts to simply recre- ate them, allowing the reader a measure of engagement and creation with the text. The writing in Fetish Systems, a new written work by multi-talented Lebanese author Raafat Majzoub, warrants this comparison. His bio alone which adorns this slim volume is merely suggestive: “he is trained as an architect, yet refuses the title – he is currently working on several construction projects, a few books, something that might be a painting, a table and would like this bio to end with an et cetera.”

“To live in Beirut, is to know that one must accept circumstance. We have become numb—all of us—numb—in a state of trance, where ‘elastic’ would describe our functional execution of our everyday...”

The work begins with curious jump-starts into a loosely shaped narrative that can be described as extremely subjective. There is no clear and formal introduction of characters or plot, but rather the text quickly makes it clear to the reader that this is more akin to the highly personal literary experiments of the past century than anything else. The language resembles somewhat the erotic poetic sketches of Georges Bataille, although more cohesive, more drawn out, but similar enough in near- destructive exploratory eroticism to draw the comparison. The fragmented flow of the narrative often times resembles poetry, with alliterative flurries of words provide rough outlines of occurrences that bring to mind a defective photography which only hints at shapes, colours and movement, with the Majzoub’s Beirut always vaguely in the background.

“It has become instinct to absorb, shock, absorb, trau- ma, react, trauma, shock, absorb shock. It is something, a trait that we contain—for so—we all are nothing...We claim that we have lost our identity, we claim the right to construct a holistic monotone remedy to unite us—to homogenize us.”

This work is certainly not for the casual reader; there is no quick drawing-up and resolution of characters and plot. Rather, this work has something intensely therapeutic, describ- ing personal relationships with mysterious “others” and places in intimate detail in a way that is, once again, acutely subjec- tive. One gets the impression that even the most innocent of exchanges between the narrator and a lover will show up on the page as darkly dissatisfied, anxious graspings for understanding and rejection of understanding, spiralling outward and inward simultaneously. Majzoub’s language, word choice, and cadence is curiously playful, vacillating within single sentences between the vulgar and the academic, sometimes with seeming deliberate focus on the rhythm and the sound of the passage rather than the written meaning, making it somehow visceral and physical and something that attempts to refuses rational deliberation.

“We are only afraid of our naked bodies in the mirror. We define our curves from our audience’s point of view, from their eyes, from between their eyelashes—so we struggle to title us, to make it easier for them to comprehend, easier for us to make them believe—for our actions and words—not the same.”

The success of Majzoub’s experiment is difficult to gauge. Yet as a text, the sustained formal and subjective effort makes this author one to keep an eye on in the coming years.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My April 21 Podcast of "Hi Keefak Ça Va" incl. Interview w/ Director Joshua Asen + Spotlight on "Fetish Systems"

Here is the link to my latest podcast (Thursday April 21) of "Hi keefak Ça Va?" (Episode 5) in case you feel like grooving to great Arabic/French/English beats.

In addition to the usual music mélange, this episode includes an interview with Joshua Asen, Co-Director of the film "I Love Hip Hop in Morocco," and audio readings (by Hamed Sinno and Rosette Elghossain from "Fetish Systems," a daring new book by Lebanese author Raafat Majzoub.

The show also includes a tribute to Helem and features a daring new song by Mashrou' Leila plus the usual music mixing and matching in Arabic/French/English

To listen/download the show (2 Parts), please click on the link below then click on the arrows on the bottom right of that page (right click to save):

If the link above doesn't work, click on the links below to listen:

Part ONE: Click HERE

Part TWO: Click HERE

also available at

Hi, Keefak, Ça Va? DJ: Ramzi S. Thurs, 21April 2011 1600 - 17:30



1. Charbel Rouhana/ Hi Keefak Ca Va/ Hi, Keefak, Ça Va?/ Forward Music
2. Fayrouz/ Habbaytak bil sayf/ The Very Best of Fairuz/ EMI
3. Jean-Francois Michel/ Coupable/ Jean Francois Michel/ JFM
4. Wust El Balad/ Qull Lil- Maliha (Tell The Maiden)/ Wust El Balad/ Melody Music
5. Hamed Sinno/ Audio Clip/ Fetish Systems by Raafat Majzoub/ +236m3
6. Rosette Elghossain/ Audio Clip/ Fetish Systems by Raafat Majzoub/ +236m3

7. Wael Kfoury/ Hekm el alb/ Best of Wael Kfoury/ Rotana
8. Les Boukakes/ Oummi/ Marra/ (No Label Information)
9. Interview with Director Joshua Asen (I Love Hip Hop in Morocco) and Professor H. Samy Alim of Stanford University.
10. MC Bigg/ Skizo/ I Love Hip Hop in Morocco/ Unreleased
11. Sala'h Eddine/ Hakma Willi/ I Love Hip Hop in Morocco/ Unreleased

12. Rima Khcheich/ Falak/ Falak/ Jazz in Motion Records
13. Mashrou' Leila/ Shim El Yasmine/ Mashrou' Leila/ B-Root Productions
14. Lena Chamamian/ Sariri Hovim Mernem/ Shamat/ NA
15. Elizabeth Ayoub/ Habibi/ Oceanos Y Lunas/ Four Quarters Entertainment

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fetish Systems: Book Signing by Raafat Majzoub & After-Party in Beirut

See for original article plus many more pics from the event.

Picture of Raafat Majzoub from Time Out Beirut.  All Rights Reserved. 
Beirut, Lebanon-- Raafat Majzoub, author of Fetish Systems, recently signed copies of his book at Zico House, Spears Street, Sanayeh - Beirut. The book signing was accompanied by live music, party and drinks.

Click here for my review of this groundbreaking book.

The best way to order this book is via this link.

Ramzi Salti's Talk: Healing through Lebanese Music (EPIC Fellows, Stanford Global Studies, September 2020)

Watch full talk at This audio-visual talk by Stanford Lecturer + Arabology program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was pre...