Samir Naqqash's stirring novel Tenants and Cobwebs nostalgically commemorates the lost culture of an ancient Iraqi Jewish minority living amidst a majority Muslim population in 1940s Baghdad. The plot unfolds during a time of great turmoil: the rise of Iraqi nationalism and anti-Jewish sentiment fueled by Nazi propaganda; the Farûd, a bloody pogrom carried out against Jewish residents of Baghdad in 1941; and the founding of Israel in 1948. These pivotal events profoundly affected Muslim-Jewish relationships, forever changing the nature of the Jewish experience in Iraq and eventually leading to a mass exodus of Iraqi Jews to Israel in 1951.
We were surrounded by a truly festive atmosphere in which everyone felt an indescribable, overwhelming happiness. Our morale was sky high, and eyes gleamed with optimism and hope – two things that Yemenis had missed bitterly for the past thirty years. I caught this infectious delight, which coursed through my spirit. For the first time in my life, I felt I was standing on free Yemeni soil.
On this night, on this chair made especially for her, Saloma shines. Her eyes are sultrily loose, either spontaneously or deliberately, and fixed on the bride. Her bejewelled ikfa2 hairstyle shows the size of her braids under the embroidered veil. Her gold nose-stud, shaped like a flower, is an inseparable part of her nose. And her confidence . . . Aah, her confidence. There is no doubt that her nine chickens are asleep now
Many women crossed paths with his, and in the midst of his longing they glowed then fizzled out, leaving behind fallen momentos from which he made a wax monument of the woman he coveted. His deep passion, confused but solid, began with a painful obsession with a woman he called Sheherazade, the one perpetually beyond reach. His infatuation gave way to a slavish resignation that came with the expected pleasures but drained the soul in a series of attachments to women where he sought some of Sheherazade’s
'It's wonderful that an august specialist magazine such as Banipal has been active for all these years, providing an outstanding service that essentially has nothing to do with commerce or profit-making, but aims to build bridges between the Arab world and Europe through the English language. "I’m proud that the first creative writings of mine to be translated into English appeared in the pages of Banipal magazine, and the magazine continues to offer texts by Iraqi creative artists who are my colleagues, and by a large group of other Arab writers from a variety of countries
Sitting on the sofa, reading the same page 24 as she has been doing for days, my mother was suddenly old. I haven’t grasped how my mother grew old. We went to sleep and she was young, we woke up and like that, she was old. Had she aged over night? Is one night enough? Is a handful of dreams from a single night enough for a person to get as old as this? I say that it’s lucky she became old at night and not in the middle of the day, for instance, as I would have been terrified.
The selected works in “Literature” include four narrative works: ‘yakfi annana ma’an’ (At Least We are Together) by Egyptian writer Ezzat el-kamhawi, published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, Cairo (2017); in addition to two more titles published by Nofal- Hachette Antoine, Beirut, namely ‘ikhtibar al-nadam’ (Remorse Test) by Syrian novelist Khalil Sweileh (2017); and ‘al -shaytan yoheb ahyanan’ (The Devil May Love Sometimes) by Saudi author Zainab Hifni, published in 2017; and “anaqeed al-ratheelah’ (Grapes of Vice) by Mauritanian novelist Ahmad Hafid, published by Arab Scientific Publishers Inc., Beirut, 2016.
When he had come to Suez four years earlier to work in the cultural centre, he had had a vague dream that he would find himself in this isolation and that he would sort out the chaos into which his life had descended. He hadn’t dreamed of any major change or great deeds, but he had said that cutting off his ties to Cairo would help him see things differently and that he would at least be able to adapt to the new reality and, most importantly, he would be able to put in order his relationship with the past.
This view is by no means exclusive to Aslan: in a cultural community characterised by its flattery and narrow interests, Alaa al-Deeb is widely regarded as a saint. Litterateurs of various generations view his writings on them as both an endorsement and a recognition of their talent. Indeed, what earned the late novelist his well-deserved stature was his objectivity and keenness to encourage the new voices in which he saw potential.
Comrade Dakhil and his friends in their olive-coloured uniforms descended on us from our roof, coming over the neighbouring roofs. They wandered about the house and went into all the rooms. As evidence, they presented comrade Dakhil with the rosaries they found and small prayer-disks of sacred earth used in prostration, and then they entered the kitchen
But suddenly, something happened that saved my life. As a young writer, I had been publishing poems, short stories and articles for years, in the local newspapers and magazines, under the pseudonym “Shakespeare of Baghdad”. The name caught the attention of military commanders, who were looking for writers and journalists to work in their propaganda wing, and began looking into my whereabouts, until in the end they found me and pulled me out of the hole where I had been buried
Because of the extraordinary state of emergency declared in America and Europe immediately after the terrorist incidents, I head directly from the coffeehouse to my Paris home. I am welcomed rather anxiously by my beloved house robot, Bahlul. His artificial intelligence programs system, which is linked to the internet, learned that danger threatens the entire inhabited world. The moment I arrive his eye’s cameras direct their electronic sensors
The identity crisis so keenly experienced by some of the characters in the novel is as personal as it is political. For example, “Darwish’s book” in the first chapter is Albert Hourani’s History of the Arab Peoples. Now dying of lung cancer, Professor Darwish begins to ponder the figurative cancer in all of his failed relationships. Hourani’s book opens a window into this dark world.
Subsequently, what she liked to call “currents of moderation” had swept over her and carried her far from the ideas of political Zionism. She had actually come to hate the lofty but threadbare claims on which that movement had been established. Then she had worked intently for many months and produced two extraordinary studies on cultural Zionism.
THE FAMILY The trumpet came in through the windows, blowing a pain that the mothers had parcelled and stored away, hiding it in cracks and...
I remember the grave, the darkness, the two angels and the hammer of repudiation and I hear muttering. I hastened and so did my pursuer: there was a dead woman in the alley, her chest bore sharp marks and blue flies were feasting around the clogged blood. Mother Rahma, the kind, bent woman pushing children into life, was found dead.
Her last husband, who was the imam and muezzin of the mosque in Tidikelt, had drawn her attention thanks to his beautiful voice when it reminded the faithful to pray to their God five times a day. At first, the muezzin had been a little disconcerted when he’d heard his wife speak to her bees in Latin
It was a rainy day in Brussels, and on that cold, wintry day the view of the city was gloomy, gray and wet from that apartment window in the Matonge neighborhood. Everything from that view was awash with water: Shops, streets, the passenger’s faces, cars, trees, dumpsters, and the barstools on the sidewalk. Women, wearing rainy coats and umbrellas, walked slowly towards the Porte de Namur metro station from Ixelles Avenue, while others were running, trying to find shelter beneath the cornices and umbrellas of Boniface shops.
Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity in his new novel, “No Knives in the Kitchens of This City.” The book focuses on just one family, and it stops several years short of the Syrian civil war. But it offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors.
I named him Robin, based on the assurances of our bird-loving neighbour. When I expressed my doubt about the name due to the incomplete red ruff on his neck feathers, he told me: “This is a young bird. The full red has not yet appeared on his feathers.”
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