Friday Finds: ‘How Do You Exist in This World with a Heritage of Defeat?’

Thanks to Luka Ostojić for bringing this interview with Jordanian novelist Maan Abu Taleb to our attention:

In it, Abu Taleb discusses why his debut novel, All The Battles, is about boxing — and the themes that opens up. He also talks about the similarities between sports and arts, and the online magazine he steers, Ma3azef. You can read the whole interview at Booksa.

From the interview:

Violence was another thing obviously, both random and organized, and from there I wanted to explore the concept of fighting as salvation. They say battle is the great redeemer. We need redemption, my generation needed to fight, and we didn’t. This is painful because we do have a cause worth fighting for. But look around you, to fight you either have to become a jihadi, or a soldier in a mercenary state army.

Also, what if, simply, that is what you’re good at? What happens then? What happens to those who if they were born 300 years ago would’ve been war heroes, hacking their way to glory? Where would they be in a society like today’s Middle East? My guess is that they are lost souls, good for nothing in today’s commerce based societies, where courage is stupidity, and the ultimate risk is financial.

Defeat is another thing I’m very interested in. How do you exist in this world with a heritage of defeat? What does that do to you? Can you fashion a new victorious self out of that or are we doomed by the defeats of our fathers?

Talent was another thing I wanted to explore, and the sacrifices one has to make, the risk that has to be endured, to take on one’s own talent.

If you’re in Croatia: Abu Taleb will be at Booksa’s Review of Small Literatures in Zagreb this December, along with a supergroup of other authors, including Asmaa Azaizeh, Hoda Barakat, Golan Haji, Khaled Khalifa, Sahar Mandour, and Adania Shibli.