Image: Samia Halaby, “Takheel I” 48” x 66" (2013)
This month we present new Palestinian writing from around the world, selected and introduced by Nathalie Handal. The eight young authors here work in multiple languages and hail from five continents, testifying to Palestinian literature’s vast thematic, stylistic, and linguistic range. In Jerusalem, Sousan Hammad maps a city and a heart, and Najwan Darwish dreams of the sea. From his exile in Reykjavik, Mazen Maarouf speaks of confinement and freedom. Yayha Hassan and Rodrigo Hasbún portray father-son alienation, and Asmaa Alghoul considers the cost of motherhood in wartime. Eyad Barghuthy finds an undefeated young boxer knocked out by politics. And Randa Abdel-Fattah speaks of her hybridized cultural identity as a Palestinian-Australian Muslim. We thank the A. M. Qattan Foundation for its generous support. In our special feature, we present new Bulgarian writing by Agop Melkonyan, Olya Stoyanova, Georgi Tenev, and Vlado Trifonov. We thank the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for its generous support of the feature.
The Shape of Time: New Palestinian Writing
To comprehend Palestinian literature, we must have an idea of what it is to be Palestinian today.
A Map of Jerusalem
Memory—they tell me—has no translation.
“You’re not going to fool around with your friend’s girlfriend.”
Writing the Lives of Gaza: Video Interview with Atef Abu Saif
Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif reads from his work.
Solitary Confinement on the Seventh Floor
One day / I’ll tear off my lips / and eat them / like candy.
Both Freedom and Constraint: An Interview with Randa Abdel-Fattah
The older I get, the more I realize how hybridized my cultural identity is.
The phantoms behind the white sheet were moving more quickly now.
A Knockout Punch
It was in New York that he learned the real ways of boxing.
Life in Mount Carmel
Their poems reach me from their temple
Father My Unborn Son
A Stone-Age hand a paperback Koran
Reviewed by Jonathan Morton
The landscape to be explored is one shaped by nation and culture almost as much as it is by personal experience. This landscape, in Schoeman's novel, is one that crosses back and forth between the borders of the great semi-desert region known as the Karoo, which began to be settled and developed in the late-nineteenth century.
Reviewed by Dustin Illingworth
It would appear that to write about Blecher is, in some sense, to write about a broad swath of European modernists in a game of contextual one-upmanship.
Reviewed by K. Thomas Kahn
The Door continues to be eerily resonant, as Szabó’s consideration of the changing sociopolitical terrain in 1950s–1960s Hungary speaks across borders of time and place.
Reviewed by Lori Feathers
In her remarkable novel The Vegetarian, South Korean writer Han Kang explores the irreconcilable conflict between our two selves: one greedy, primitive; the other accountable to family and society.