Lit & Found: An Excerpt from Najwa Barakat’s ‘Mr N’

Today on LitHub, an excerpt of Najwa Bakarat’s Mister N., translated by Luke Leafgren and out in English translation next week from And Other Stories.

In it, we see a tragicomic Beirut through the eyes of a disappointed writer, the titular Mister N. The second book by Barakat in English translation, following her wild post-not-post-war novel Oh, Salaam!, also translated by Leafgren.

In the excerpt that appears in LitHub, the reclusive Mr. N is finding it difficult to write with all the noise in his thoughts and on the street below.

From the excerpt:

A car horn blared, startling Mr. N. Other horns followed, proclaiming their own excellence. Then the flock of horns raced on, without any shepherd to guide them or any sheepdog to bring them back to the straight and narrow. Their hooves crushed everything in their path: passengers, pedestrians, children, residents of the neighboring buildings, sparrows, trees, shops.

Mr. N pressed his face against those white iron squares and looked down, annoyed. Why all these cars, and where could they be going? The clock showed 10:25. Employees were at their offices, children were at their schools and universities, mothers were in their kitchens, he was in his room. So who were all these people, and why were they all going for a drive together?

Read the whole excerpt at LitHub.