Lit & Found: Mohamed Makhzangi’s ‘Foal’

To mark the release of Mohamed Makhzangi’s Animals in Our Days in Chip Rossetti’s English translation, this week we had a conversation with Rossetti about the collection as well as a list of 10 more animal fictions.

Also, back in April, Asymptote published Makhzangi’s “Foal,” in Rossetti’s translation, a story that appears in Animals in Our Days.

You can read the story over at Asymptote. It opens:

Trembling, the small foal scurried between his mother’s legs when the sound of explosions struck his ears and the lightning flash of bombs glimmered in his eyes. He couldn’t hear the voices of any of the humans he was familiar with, not even the terrifying voice of the president’s son, whose arrival at the palace race track instantly caused the grooms to tremble and made the horses quake. His voice was rough, and his hand heavy and brutal. He had big teeth that showed when he scowled at other people or laughed with the foal—for him alone the president’s son laughed. He would place his right hand around the foal’s neck and burst out laughing while taking some sugar out of his pocket for him, the purest kind of sugar in the world. He would feed it to him with affection and delight, but he was harsh and irritable toward everyone else. Once the foal saw him beating a stable hand who was slow to saddle his horse. After the stable hand fell to the ground, the president’s son kicked him with the iron spurs of his riding boot, and kept kicking his head until blood poured out of his nose, mouth, and ears. He gave the foal’s own mother a hard slap when she shied away a little just as he was about to ride. He kept slapping her on the muzzle while she bucked, whinnying pitifully, until blood poured from her jaws. He didn’t stop hitting her until the foal ran up and came between him and his mother.

Keep reading “Foal” at Asymptote.


Chip Rossetti on How Mohamed Makhzangi’s ‘Animals In Our Days’ Displaces our Anthropocentric View of the World

10 Books: Animal Tales in Arabic Literature