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May 2019

No Center: Omani Writers on the Question of Identity

Image: Farah Al Qasimi, Butterfly Garden, inkjet print, 27 x 37 in, 2016. Courtesy of Helena Anrather and The Third Line. By arrangement with the artist.

This month, we bring you writing from five Omani writers who, as guest editors Ghayde Ghraowi and Ahd Niazy write, “engage with the precariousness of identity, how our settled selves are always under threat from without and within.” Man Booker International winners Jokha Alharthi and Marilyn Booth bring us a tale of a young Omani woman who finds herself grappling with her grandmother’s troubled past and the personal dilemmas of her fellow international students in London. Badriya al-Badri follows a transgender narrator through a kaleidoscope of memories and personal crises, while Aisha al-Saifi crafts a poetic response to the loss of father and country. Reem Allawati seeks to commit the ineffable to the page, while Abdulaziz al-Omairi's poetic engagement with the Classical Arabic tradition teeters between wistfulness and vengeance. In their striking range, these pieces offer modes of reconsidering what we think we know about not only Oman but also the uses of literature.

Our special feature, guest edited by Rachel Cordasco, presents speculative microfiction from Italy.


Book Reviews

“Broken Stars,” a New Anthology Edited by Ken Liu, Casts a Fresh Look at Chinese Sci-Fi

Reviewed by Anjie Zheng

From sharp-edged social criticism to extravagant and alluring imagery, this collection of short-stories displays the wide range of the genre in contemporary China

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