Lit & Found: Samira Azzam’s ‘The Roc Flew Over Shahraban’

This week, we are launching our first community-supported translation: Ranya Abdelrahman’s translation of thirty-one selected stories by the great cult-classic Palestinian writer Samira Azzam.

Thanks to our supporters on Patreon and elsewhere for making this happen.

You can find the book on Amazon (US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, UAE, etc.) and Gumroad. On Gumroad, the book it as a 20% launch-week discount, set to end December 9. It is also coming to other platforms and bookshops, as well as launch events in the new year.

To mark the release, we’ll be celebrating Samira Azzam and her work all this week on ArabLit.

Here, we revisit Ranya’s translation of “The Roc Flew Over Shahraban,” which ran as part of The Common’s special section on Palestine.

The Roc Flew Over Shahraban opens:

Slowly, we raised our heads as hellish cries echoed in our ears, and we looked up in awe and fear. The sky was a summery blue with no trace of a cloud, and the sun had spread out, occupying every corner. We lowered our gazes, licking our bluish lips as we exchanged panicked glances. Our cracked feet were rooted to the furrowed mud, as if our slightest movement might stir up the screeching. We chewed over our terror for a few minutes, our parted lips emitting silence. Our mounts were as terrified as we were, and they scattered around the courtyard at the inn, fear spurring them to shake off the torpor of the midday heat.

The men began to pour in, forgetting to hold up the muddy hems of their robes as they edged into the courtyard. They gathered in silence, stealing furtive looks at each other, waiting for one among them to muster the courage to find his voice.

Read the rest of the story over at The Common.