Articles tagged "Arabic"


A Bedtime Story for Eid

Translator’s note: Zaher Omareen’s tale takes us on a journey back to 1980s Hama, zooming in on some of the individual victims of the massacres and disappearances committed by the regime there,…...

Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette

But where’s the skill in loading a gun with just one round of ammunition and pointing it at your head, trying your luck at deliverance? The ingenious thing would be to fill all six chambers and let…...

The Poet Cannot Stand Aside: Arabic Literature and Exile

Fourteen hundred years ago and more, the poet-prince Imru’ al-Qais was banished by his father. The king exiled his son, or so the legend goes, in part because of the prince’s poetry. Thus it…...

War

Men plan wars And women survive in the rubble One day there will be no men And a woman will pursue another In search of the scent of the last man Who touched his lips to her neck. © Manal Al-Sheikh.…...

My Body

A body that is the one I borrowed the first night with you . . .  I watch it every night running toward a waveless sea where the sand of age rests in its veins . . . The wearied ships land in its…...

Downtown

My share of sleep: four hours eleven minutes.
 I roll my pierced heart across the bedcover: it slams into the door, leaving
 a line of mud behind. I believe a tree
 will come one night…...

from “The Amman Bride”

We really needed to talk. This was a difficult situation that we needed to find a way out of. He absolutely refused to share me with anyone else, and he wasn't prepared to lead a life with me where…...

The Green Zone Rabbit

Before the egg appeared, I would read a book about law or religion every night before going to sleep. Like my rabbit, I would be most active in the hours around dawn and sunset. Salsal, on the other hand,…...

Salman and the Mule Suicides

My acquaintance with Salman extends back to our military service, to the winter of 1984, I think. In that year I began to serve in a series of units that fought in the mountains, cities, and canebrakes…...

A Portal in Space

The Friday bombardment started a little later than usual, at 8:30 a.m. The sound was loud and clear. Umm Anwar sighed, and her pain showed clearly in her expression. Furrowing her brow and ready to explode,…...

The One-Eyed TV

Just as the thirteenth year of my life started, the Iraqi-Iran war began. Before it was even a year old, my oldest brother was killed and one of my cousins was taken as a prisoner of war. That is when…...

Merrymaking

He is not a tightrope walker, a snake charmer, or a tiger tamer. His hands are empty no charm or sleight to them, and he does not have any puppets, hoops, pungis, or whips—his mere body is his only…...

Music in a Baghdad Alley

No matter where you settle or wander That first melody is yours At every arrival and departure Its living face will meet you at the entrance that remains If you walk and the opposing wind is in your face…...

In Saadi Shirazi’s Garden (When He Was a Prisoner)

The river flows. Guides hide in the woods. I am a single day dragging an apocalypse of days. Wounded battalions smelling the burning air through the dried blood on the nose. Because the city of water is…...

The Arab Altar

The last thing on our minds was celebrating our wedding, after we had waited so long, to the sound of air raid sirens and the reverberation of Dushka guns targeting the Iranian airplanes attacking Baghdad.…...

The Mulberry Tree

My city—Mosul—was economical even in its delights. During its unhurried spring, which was fragrant with the scents of grass and wild flowers, there were only a few places for people to go on…...

“Friendship is a religion”

Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in the city of Fès in 1944. He attended an Arabic-French elementary school, studied French in Tangier until the age of eighteen, then studied philosophy and wrote his…...

A Memoir Disguised as a Novel

Harper Perennial, which reissued A Life Full of Holes in 2008, describes it on the cover as “the first novel ever written in the Arabic dialect Moghrebi.” Yet there is more than a little doubt…...

The Ringing Body

She always recognized them by the  trembling behind their bravado. From his first “Hello” she was certain  he wasn’t one of them . . . that he had meant to call her, in particular.…...

Declining Freedom

Translator’s Note:  In Wajdi al-Ahdal’s novel Donkey in the Choir, Tha’ira, the rebellious wife of a Yemeni politician, has neglected work on her master’s degree since her…...

Hanzala

It’s August 2000, and I’m overwhelmed by this emotional leavetaking. It’s the first time you’ve ever dreaded visiting your grandfather al-Atawi, but it’s because you’re…...

God After Ten O’Clock

The State Security Building: The First Arrest of the Seagull It was maybe three or four o'clock, or maybe sometime in between. Why am I trying to establish an exact time? Curses on the clock that forces…...

Founding Fathers

Author’s note: The Iraq in the novel is an imaginary Iraq, and I tried to use it as a symbol for all the Arab countries. Most of the characteristics of the four dictators in the novel are derived…...

Publishing in Tunisia: An Interview with Elisabeth Daldoul of Elyzad

Elisabeth Daldoul founded her publishing house, Elyzad, in Tunisia almost six years ago. My first experience with her was with A cinq mains, a book in which she published five short stories written by…...

from “The Grub Hunter”

Translator’s Note:  The Grub Hunter is the story of a former secret service agent who, on being forced to retire after an accident costs him his right leg, becomes obsessed with the idea of…...

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