I’ve had this collection of short stories on the go for quite a while now as they are a difficult read, not that the words are difficult but the emotions those words stir are hard to process.
Nayrouz writes poetically about situations influenced by her time in Gaza as a young woman, each episode is a beauty to read. Flowing words that entangle you in the situation and emotions that are so expertly shared by her prose.
These situations/episodes describe a world so different from our own, but people who are just the same, and it is this juxtaposition that makes these difficult to process as you are able to feel the desperation, fear, confusion, love, and hope that Nayrouz’s characters are infused with so strongly.
Each story explores a part of the world we hear a lot about but can never really know from a more personal perspective than the news ever can, I loved the feeling of rebellion and hope in ‘The Long Braid’, the depth of history explored in ‘The Anklet of Maioumas’ but all the stories have something to give in understanding a situation so different from our own.
This is one of the reasons that we really need good translated fiction, we need to be able to share and feel the differences in the world where all people are the same but not the circumstances the people are in, this can help us develop an empathic understanding as emotions are universal.
Beautifully translated by Perween Richards for Comma Press.