Brief Excerpt from Amir Tag Elsir’s ‘366’

You can read an Arabic excerpt of the first two chapters of Amir Tag Elsir’s 366 on Kikah. Or one short paragraph from the first chapter, trans. William Hutchins:

366---Amir-Tag-ElsirI never was a fan of dream makers at any period in my life, Asma’.  I wasn’t a man who wrote flowery letters to sweethearts who dwelt on haughty heights and who would never make it to a rendezvous.  Nor did I sit on the benches of public roads stealthily watching a female walk past while inhaling her perfumes, noticing her look back if she did, and listening to her laughter if she laughed.  I only rarely went to the markets during crowded shopping periods or assisted my five senses in loitering, the way the way many men do, in the congestion.  Even when my mother would send me to borrow a spoonful of sugar, a handful of coffee beans, or other trifles from one of her beautiful young neighbors when I was at an age that rendered me highly susceptible to noticing in the girl’s physique and creating an expansive field for temptation when the top of her thawb slipped from her head or when her lips parted in a welcoming smile, I would go and return with my head bowed, having scarcely caught a glimpse of the girl and without paying any attention to the perfume she might have applied to her body.

From Amir Tag Elsir’s 366, longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), translated here by William Hutchins, who also translated Elsir’s The Grub Hunter.

You can also read:

A synopsis of the novel from IPAF organizers

An excerpt of Amir Tag Elsir’s Ebola ’76, trans. Maia Tabet (English)

An excerpt from 366 (Arabic)