We spend most of this episode talking about two books: the late Arwa Salih’s Stillborn, a memoir of and reckoning with her time as a leftist student militant in Egypt in the 1970s; and Rabai al-Madhoun’s novel Fractured Destinies -- about lives constrained, conflicted and divided in Palestine.Show notes
Arwa Salih’s The Stillborn, tr. the brilliant Samah Salim and published by Seagull Books as part of their “Arab List,” curated by Hosam Aboul-ela.
Rabai al-Madhoun’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-winning Fractured Destinies(published in Arabic as called Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba), tr. Paul Starkey, and extends the universe of Walid al-Dahman who first appeared in IPAF-shortlisted The Lady from Tel Aviv, tr. Elliott Colla.
The claustrophobia was reminiscent of Mohammed Sabaaneh’s collection of political cartoons White and Black.
For books in a constellation around The Stillborn, we mentioned: Waguih Ghali’s Beer in the Snooker Club, Naguib Mahfouz’s Adrift on the Nile, tr. Frances Liardet, Youssef Rakha’s Crocodiles, tr. Robin Moger,and Mohammed Rabie’s Otared, tr. Moger.
Palestinian literature: regrets, tough choices and teen adventures
President Trump just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a move that acknowledges only a single Israeli narrative. We discuss Palestinian writers and how they write about their relationships with Israelis; about living with trauma and danger; about