Friday Finds: An International Exquisite Corpse

Words Without Borders partnered with SLICE to produce an International Exquisite Corpse story, written by four writer/translator teams from around the world, including Basma Abdel Aziz + Lissie Jaquette and Fouad Laroui + Emma Ramadan:

The other two writer-translator teams were Karolina Ramqvist with Saskia Vogel, and Maria Cabrera with Mary Ann Newman.

The untitled story was published in issue 22 of Slice Magazine and also appears at Words Without Borders. It begins with Basma and Lissie as our protagonist opens her eyes:

Nadia opened her eyes and looked out the window. The streetlights were still on, even though it was past sunrise. She smiled with a heady delight. She would be going to work shortly, where today the staff was planning a celebration in her honor. She was going to pretend to be surprised, just as they were going to pretend to have surprised her. She’d made the arrangements, plans, and preparations, and she’d asked them to pool money to buy the food and drinks that would be laid out on long desks for the party. They’d all done as she’d asked. No one had dared to object, despite their collective distress at throwing money away.

As each writer takes Nadia on her way to the institute, they all do so in their own particular and peculiar way. The settings are each entirely different: The story begins in a densely crowded Egypt, and then shifts to a place where 4x4s trumpet like elephants, men harass women, and cops make sardonic comments. In the Swedish, the protagonist starts to think about her therapist and her mental well-being, while in the final section by Maria Cabrera, translated by Mary Ann Newman, we move wildly through tooth pain, cocaine, Barcelona, and the La Jonquera border.

Read the story at Words Without Borders.

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