This summer, we will run select pieces from summer issues of ArabLit Quarterly. This short story, by author Muhammad El-Hajj, tr. author-translator Yasmine Zohdi, ran in the summer 2019 SEA issue of the magazine, available as PDF, e-pub, and in print.
“When Naguib Mahfouz was a boy, he tells us, two paths lay before him. There was the path of the literature he loved to read and write. He could take that path and become a distinguished author. There was also the path of the football he loved to play and the footballers he admired. He could take that, it was said, and become a member of the Egyptian Olympic football team.”
Her mother’s old saying swung in her head like a pendulum: “Life is an unfortunate mess.”