Lit & Found: Muhammad Zafzaf’s ‘James Joyce’

Over at The Common, Lily Sadowsky has translated a short story by Moroccan literary craftsman Muhammad Zafzaf.

The story appears on The Common in both languages, Arabic and English, and Sadowsky says, in her introduction, that in this story — as in “Borges in the Hereafter,” which she translated for the JOKE issue of ArabLit Quarterly — Zafzaf uses intertextuality to create a temporal unease. “But,” she adds, “however lost in time our writer is, he is distinctly aware of his place. Creative mastery is never simply a matter of skill but always also a question of positionality and circumstance. The freedom to be authentic or make new, to mean or will, is not equally free for all. Time is unstable; remembrance, unbalanced.”

The story opens:

He opens the bottle of red, remembers the words of James Joyce: “White wine awakens the legs, but red wine awakens the head.” He was knocking them back with Nino Frank, with Sam Beckett, with Gillet and the others, and still he could write no more than two books. The rest were addenda.

Read the wholeJames Joyce” at The Common.