Friday Finds: Two Newly Translated Stories by Radwa Ashour

Emily Drumsta has translated two stories by Egyptian writer Radwa Ashour (1946-2014), from her 1990 collection Ra’ayt al-Nakhl: Qisas (I Saw the Date Palms: Stories).

fcddf35bce3829dae69ee6db3ea3a2bdThe first is “The Man Sitting in the Park is Waiting,” where at the foreground are a mother and son throwing a ball (who could be Radwa and her son Tamim, or echoes of Radwa and Tamim). The boy is impatient for the mother to play ball properly. The mother is drawn in by the waiting man, who is both inside and outside the story’s frame:

He was sitting, motionless, his face frozen as though sculpted from stone, staring into nothingness as though he had lost his hearing or his sight.

The second is “He Wants to Be Reassured,” where on its surface an old man comes to be reassured about the progress — at university — of his granddaughter. Then, in the middle of the story, students burst in with the announcement of a trip to Port Said:

The free city opens its ocean to you

Port Said: an ocean of commodities

Come with us to swim and buy!

Read the whole of both stories on Jadaliyya.