In the margins

Worth noting:

* Geoff Wysner, at Words Without Borders, reviews the memoir Algerian White, by Assia Djebar.

Algerian White was written as a tribute to three men. Each was a friend of the author. Each was a writer himself, in addition to his regular profession. All three were killed in the space of less than a year, and the stories of each of their deaths are at the emotional heart of the book.

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* Interesting cyber-publishing venture: An Iranian novella is translated thanks to a collaboration between three websites, excerpted and put on sale online. The translator writes about the process here. The story has a stream-of-consciousness, Kafkaesque quality: 

When I get to the hotel, the smiling deskman portends bad things and I am right. He gestures to a woman sitting on the couch in a corner of the lobby. And from here, I see only her salt and pepper hair and when I can almost see her profile, she sees me. There is no time to run away. Although I am really tired. I didn’t talk to a woman on the phone and I was not waiting for a woman. My thoughts are lining up. I see her hand come toward me and with no choice I shake her hand and start to say how are you, with no choice, and that is the way of life no choice, apparently. Automatically, without thinking, we go and sit down where the woman had been seated. So quickly you got to know the city. 


Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.