Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity in his new novel, “No Knives in the Kitchens of This City.” The book focuses on just one family, and it stops several years short of the Syrian civil war. But it offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors.
I named him Robin, based on the assurances of our bird-loving neighbour. When I expressed my doubt about the name due to the incomplete red ruff on his neck feathers, he told me: “This is a young bird. The full red has not yet appeared on his feathers.”
Banipal’s core mission is to bring readers gems, in translation, from the wealth of creative writing being produced across the Arab world today. Banipal 57 – Syria in the Heart brings you twelve Syrian authors, and in addition, two from Palestine and Iraq. The focus on Arab literary modernism and its pioneers has been postponed on account of this most urgent subject of the future of Syria.
Soon after finishing the pizza, he turned on the TV to a porn channel to kill time. The only thing available in this country was porn channels, and there was a store just around the corner that would give you access to any channel for a little bit of money. Most of the owner’s customers were among the Islamists who had issued a fatwa that looking at non-Muslim women was OK
I entered the public library a few days ago to research an essay I am writing and asked the librarian for the room where the books I needed were shelved. He pointed me to a downstairs room accessed by a spiral staircase. I could not believe my eyes, which opened wide. It was the very same staircase from my dream!
Time has its own rhythm in Kuwait city, and two years later, Kawthar, in her late twenties approaches her father once again and tells him she would like to buy an apartment of her own. “This had the effect of an electric shock on him . . . I would have liked to tell him that the world had changed, that I had the right to live my life in peace, as I saw fit to.”
Perhaps the waterman wanted to exhaust them by allowing the hopeless confrontation to drag on until everyone grew too tired to let even one word escape their lips and so would leave before the battle came to an end. Uncle Abu Ali finally became exhausted, his parched throat finally letting him down. He gestured to those around him to bring him water. Someone handed him a jug of water that must have been hot by that time
Then a pile of banknotes fell out – a little surprise I wasn’t expecting. It looked like a lot, maybe one thousand guinay, given each note was worth ten, and there must have been a hundred of them. The officer slammed the palms of both hands down on the table, stunned to see such a huge amount of cash, though not as stunned as I was. That old man had been carrying all that money
Sudanese writers have been crowding onto the Arab literary scene in increasing numbers, making headway in several pan-Arab literary projects and prizes. With the majority of them living out of the country in the Arab Gulf or in Europe, they are creating almost a virtual Sudanese literary scene, one that cannot be silenced or censored.
Their fathers had had a special friendship. They had both fled the village of Samaria for Acre after the ’48 Nakba. Mufid’s father had got himself one of the shops offered to refugees and had opened a grocery, while Saber’s father had worked as a building labourer on the new Jewish settlements.
The company where he would work consisted of a number of different Arab nationalities. The interviewer, an engineer, asked him a number of questions, about his previous jobs and his experience. He was so pleasant that Nagi became suspicious, but in the end, he joined the team and learned in the first few weeks that the company was managing huge tourist projects on the coast of the Red Sea
Fly, is an immigrant taxi driver who roams the streets of an unnamed city in his cab. The novel is set at the time of the annual carnival, and revellers crowd the streets in masks and costumes. Fly is an engaging, entertaining and erudite narrator. His taxi is “my boat, or sometimes my airplane, my home, or my library”. Fly divides taxi drivers into two groups: Spiders and Flies.
“Everything needs prostitutes,” Abu Shindi tells you. He’s sitting on one side of his table in a secluded corner, directly under a picture of the President. He sees you, but you don’t see him. The seat may have changed, but the years haven’t, and neither has the President’s picture.
Featuring brand-new stories by: Rawi Hage, Muhammad Abi Samra, Leila Eid, Hala Kawtharani, Marie Tawk, Bana Baydoun, Hyam Yared, Najwa Barakat, Alawiyeh Sobh, Mazen...
Father Sharbel had paid a visit to Iraq, returning with painful memories which found their way out at the slightest opportunity. Those close to him said that he had tired of life in the monastery and wished to return to Assyria; that the spirit of the place had taken possession of him
My mother ran out of the house after putting on shoes that didn’t match. Her curly hair was tied back with a black band. The fear on her face was patent and her blue eyes seemed bigger. The edge of her white shirt hung over her grey skirt. I followed her out. She looked like a mad woman, roaming the streets of Ajami. She was searching for my grandmother. In a hurry, as if trying to catch up with herself. Hearing my footsteps she turned back and gestured with her broom-thin arm – go back!
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