Friday Finds: An Excerpt of Mohamed Kheir’s ‘Slipping’

This week, LitHub published a short excerpt from Mohamed Kheir’s luminous novel Slipping, brought into English by Robin Moger:

Kheir is an acclaimed and award-winning Egyptian writer; his short story collections Blink of an Eye (2014) and Ifreet in the Radio (2009) both were honored with Sawiris Cultural Awards. His Slipping was chosen as a favorite by several writers the year it came out, 2018, when Muhammad Abdelnabi said the novel “approaches the fantasy world without exaggeration, in a very controlled manner and with a precise tone.”

Kheir has a short story in The Book of Cairo, ed. Raph Cormack, “Talk,” but Slipping is his first full-length book in English translation.

The excerpt, titled “We walked on water and met a stranger,” opens:

Where the corniche wall ran out, a great tree hooped over to drink from the river. Beyond the tree there was nothing: nothing between us and the water. 

We walked by the light of the stars, to our left a scattering of buildings, silent as though abandoned and none more than two stories high. There was the soft howling of dogs in the distance, and the rustle of small things, some living, from the ground. All of a sudden, Bahr halted and pulled me to one side, right to the lip of the riverbank. For a moment it was as if he wanted me to leap into the Nile, but then I saw a flight of stone steps in the starlight, appearing as if from nowhere: narrow, running from the embankment where we stood down to the water’s surface, to where there was no jetty, no boat, no hut, nothing: as though inviting us under.

Read it over at LitHub.