“We knew the hole that was in the back of the head / would try to swallow up whatever we threw behind us / like a vacuum cleaner”
“Too frequently, I think, translators give in to the idea that a foreign text needs to retain a lot of that foreignness—this is Venuti’s foreignizing versus domesticating debate.”
“Also, there is much more ignorance about Arabic and Arab literature, and Arab countries, than the ignorance of us about the rest of the world. We have dictators, we have a stupid education system, but here there is no excuse for them, because the information is there.”
In the last five years, there has been a surge of interest in Syrian writing in German translation. In this series of interviews, writers, poets, publishers, and artists in Berlin talk about their experience with the publishing industry in Germany and beyond.
“The situation in Syria for the past decade has been complicated and confounding, and Ramy’s work emerges out of this confusion not to give us solutions but instead to bring us into it as well.”
Includes the perfect hot-and-sweet late-summer story from Muhammad al-Hajj, in pitch-perfect translation by Yasmine Zohdi.