Image: Yasmeen Abdullah, “The Butterfly Effect.” By arrangement with the artist.
Only a small percentage of the literature published in Sudan is written by women, and even less finds its way into English. This month we're taking a step toward addressing that imbalance by presenting excerpts from five novels by female Sudanese writers. Four of these writers make their English-language debuts here; all five offer compelling portraits of contemporary Sudanese society. Amna al-Fadl interprets a journalist's recurring dream. Rania Mamoun sees a routine morning disrupted by sudden violence. Zeinab Belail observes a liminal street with a life of its own. Ann El Safi pens a tale of lifelong,and unrequited, devotion. And Sara Al-Jack tracks a young woman obsessed with a mysterious book. Guest editor Sawad Hussain provides an illuminating introduction.
Aperture: Sudanese Female Novelists Coming into Focus
Is there some sort of double marginalization at play?
At the Coffee Shop
This man must be high on something, I thought.
Women are forbidden from setting foot in the swamp.
Freedom of Flight
She is a woman I have watched for many years, and for as many years she has been unaware of me.
She hovers overhead, aimless, surrendering herself to fate.
The Birth of the Spirit
I didn’t go to the dorms as I had planned; my feet led me to the river.
Reviewed by Mauricio Ruiz
Drawing on unpublished letters and journals, the Polish journalist always keeps an eye on revealing details in her new book "Ellis Island: A People's History," the result of extensive research into the manifold trajectories of those who set foot on a new continent and helped forge the modern US.
Reviewed by Martha Anne Toll
Via a forceful monologue, Diop's novel creates a tale of revenge with biblical overtones as it looks at the relatively little-known story of Senegalese riflemen fighting in the French army in the First World War.