||The thesis deals with the reception of Lā Sakākīn fī Maṭābikh Hādhihi al-Madīna, a novel about an aristocratic family living in Aleppo, that disintegrates more and more due to the influence of the ruling party. It was composed by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa, and published in 2013. For the research project, a combination of online sources was examined, namely official reviews published on websites of newspapers, and reader responses on social networking site Goodreads.
After giving an overview of reception theory and Arabic literary criticism over time, the method used for analysing the texts is described. It was derived from an article by Wendy Griswold, in which she divided readers into different audiences and described their evaluations. The same is done in the thesis, readers are divided according to the language they communicate in (Arabic vs. English / Dutch), as well as concerning the way they publish their reactions (use of social media vs. official websites).
Succeeding chapters discuss important findings, firstly with regard to literary value,
secondly regarding politics, and thirdly concerning social morals. Its excellent reception in the Arabic world was called into question, as well as the assumption that ‘Western’ critics do not comment on the literary value of Arabic novels. The thesis concludes by summarising its results, of which the most outstanding may be the critical attitude towards authority of users of social media in combination with their, on the whole, conservative ideas.