With new issues out from Jadaliyya and Banipal, it was time to poke around the Internet for new stories, poems, novel excerpts, memoir fragments and more in translation.
From The City of Images (2011), by Luay Hamza Abbas, trans. Suneela Mubayi (Jadaliyya)
“You’ll remain incorrigible,” my mother would scream. “Insults will follow you all your life.”
From Gertrude, by Hassan Najmi, trans. Nancy Roberts (Banipal)
He still remembered the moment they left from the port of Tangiers. It was very early morning and the light was still dim when Gertrude said to him: “You’ve got the address now, haven’t you? So you can come to Paris whenever you like. It’s a standing invitation, Mohammed.”
Nael el-Toukhy’s “The Machos,” trans. Wiam el-Tamami
During the revolution, three young men decided to start their own special project. Each of the young men had a name and each name began with the term ‘Macho’. There was Macho Zakariya, Macho Sayed and Macho Louai and their grand scheme was born at a café in Korba. Amidst the curling smoke of canteloupe-flavoured shisha, they decided together to pursue their old dream.
“The Last Jar of Homemade Strawberry Jam,” by Mona Elnamoury (Arab World Books)
The mother, still in black after two years of her husband’s death, remained silent looking awkwardly at her three kids. Both brothers expressed their discomfort with going. One of them lay down on the sofa murmuring something about how tired he was. The other one looked carefully at her from top to toe and made a sour remark about the unsuitability of her clothes to the sad visit. Merna said nothing.
Dania’s “Virginity Check,” trans. Mariam Bazeed (Mariam’s blog)
Youssef Rakha’s “The Revolution for Real: Cairo 2011“ (Banipal)
“Beirut, ornament of our world,” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, trans. and with commentary by Vijay Prashad (Jadaliyya)
Venus Khoury-Ghata’s “Le soleil s’interposait entre nous à la moindre querelle,” trans. students at Emerson Elementary (Two Lines)
“The One You Accidentally Found in the Mirror,” by Ghassan Zaqtan, trans. Fady Joudah (TriQuarterly Online)
Also by Zaqtan:
“One hand isn’t enough to write with,” by Abdellatif Laâbi, trans. the workshop (Poetry Translation Centre)
“Poetry and I,” by Mbarka Mint al-Barra’, trans. the workshop (Poetry Translation Centre)
“Attention! At East!” by Salma Idilbi, trans. Fatima Fettar (Jadaliyya)
Ms. N. would hold the microphone as if she were a professional singer. She would begin by yelling (I can still hear her) “Ista’id!” (Attention!) exaggerating the short vowel after the ta’ so that it sounded more like “Istaaa`id!” We would put our right feet out, in the standby position, ready for “battle.” This was always followed by “Istarih” (at ease!), again with an elongated a.
“Area Code for the Heart,” by Ahmad Diab (Jadaliyya)
My first shave was in Homs. My first trans-sectarian inter-neighborhood love was in Homs. So were my first sip of maté and first cigarette puff. My first book fair, and my first play. Homs, which I cannot claim is my birthplace, was where I came of age.
A Barbarian in Rome, Sinan Antoon (Jadaliyya)
“Are you going home for the holidays?” asked a colleague of mine some years ago in the elevator. It is a typical and legitimate question, but if you happen to be from Baghdad, as I am, formulating an answer is not a simple task.
An Interview with Sonallah Ibrahim by Camilo Gómez-Rivas (Banipal)
The problem isn’t that you write about this or that; the problem is about the ability to express something. What does literature have to offer? It offers the ability to express situations and thoughts and consciousness, to describe problems and how people think. This is a challenge to taboos, so long as they are present, literature remains unable to offer anything important.
Naguib Mahfouz and the Novel in the Newspaper (Maurice in Cairo)
In late 1959, Al Ahram first published Awlad Haretna, known today in English as Children of the Alley, in a serialized form, with a short portion of the longer work in the paper each day over three months.
Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, trans. Fady Joudah, is due from Yale University Press.
Youssef Ziedan’s Azazel, trans. Jonathan Wright, is due out from Atlantic.
Marilyn Booth’s translation of Elias Khoury’s As Though She Were Sleeping is due out from Archipelago.
REVIEWS YOU SHOULD READ
Ahram Online: Review of Mohamed El-Bosatie’s Small Butterflies
REALLY IMPORTANT TALKS
The Blog as Cross-Cultural Literary Salon, M. Lynx Qualey (me), March 26 @ 6 p.m. See you there.