"The most talked-about writer on the West Bank."
--Ahdaf Soueif, author of In the Eye of the Sun—--Ahdaf Soueif, author of In the Eye of the Sun
"The opening of [Touch]... introduces a fragile little girl, standing alone in her landscape, in the shadow of an old, rusty water tank. She touches one of the supporting legs of the tank, and tiny, cold stains of rust stick to her palm. She stretches her hand out of the shade to warm it up in the sun, and her hand becomes sprinkled with shiny dots of shimmering gold. This is, to my mind, what Adania Shibli does with her amazingly and beguilingly simple language: making the rusty stains of reality disappear, and then making them reappear in writing as stains of gold."--Anton Shammas, author of Arabesques --Anton Shammas—--Anton Shammas, author of Arabesques --Anton Shammas
Starred Review. Celebrated young Palestinian writer Shibli-a playwright, author and essayist now located in the UK-makes her American debut with an exquisite, powerful novella that transports readers to her West Bank homeland. In spare prose, Shibli follows an unnamed little girl, the youngest in a large Palestinian family, as she examines her world and tries to understand her place in it. Though focused on the finest details-flakes of rust against skin, the softness of grass-Shibli takes readers to the center of a family and a culture, using the same careful, dispassionate observation to report everyday events like the father's shaving as she does to depict the death of a sibling in area violence. Like a great volume of poetry, Sibli's first novel (her second is forthcoming from Clockroot) has rhythm and unexpected momentum, and cries for re-reading.—From Publishers Weekly
Touch centers on a girl, the youngest of nine sisters in a Palestinian family. In the singular world of this novella, this young woman’s everyday experiences resonate until they have become as weighty as any national tragedy. The smallest sensations compel, the events of history only lurk at the edges--the question of Palestine, the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. In a language that feels at once natural and alienated, Shibli breaks with the traditions of modern Arabic fiction, creating a work that has been and will continue to be hailed across literatures. Here every ordinary word, ordinary action is a small stone dropped into water: of inevitable consequence. We find ourselves mesmerized one quiet ripple at a time.
Adania Shibli, novelist, essayist, and playwright, has twice received the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Writer Award–Palestine. Her work has been translated into French, German, Italian, Hebrew, and Korean.
Paula Haydar is Clinical Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Arkansas. She holds a PhD degree in comparative literature and an M.F.A. degree in literary translation. She has translated numerous novels by contemporary Lebanese, Palestinian, and Jordanian authors. Her translation of Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy’s June Rain was selected as the highly commended runner-up of the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and also made the Daily Star’s list of Top Middle East Novels of 2014. Her translations of Lebanese authors also include three novels by Elias Khoury (Gates of the City, The Journey of Little Gandhi, and The Kingdom of Strangers) and three novels by Rashid al-Daif (This Side of Innocence , Learning English, and Who’s Afraid of Meryl Streep?). Her translations of novels by Palestinian writers include Sahar Khalifeh’s The End of Spring and Adania Shibli’s Touch (Interlink). Her most recent translation is What Price Paradise by Jordanian writer Jamal Naji.