If you follow Arabic literature, you owe it to yourself to follow Qisasukhra, a new blog by a translator who features short pieces from new Arabic novels. 

Here's an excerpt from a translation of a Mohammed Mustajab story:

I donned the dark suit, the tight new shoes and leapt into the street. The hour was early. Plans had been laid with modern precision.

I told my sweetheart, the evening before, that I was terrified of meeting her father. She tweaked my ear, brought her eyes closer, caught her breath for an instant, then laughed.

Her father, she said (like any father) loved his daughter and she (my sweetheart assumed an air of gravity) had cleared all obstacles for this encounter. She (she laughed) had paved the way: all that remained was to charge. She (her fingertips tickled my chin) cared for nothing in this world but me.

Her efforts, I said, were deserving of my fullest admiration. Nevertheless, I was not going to meet her father. I gazed into her eyes and my voice a whisper, underscored my point: It’s not a father I’ll be meeting, it’s a former prime minister…


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.