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Story-Bearers

Marina Warner: Abdelfattah Kilito, 17 April 2014

Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe 
by Abdelfattah Kilito.
Actes Sud, 144 pp., €19, March 2013, 978 2 330 01634 0
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... autobiographical tales collected in The Clash of Images (2008), translated most effectively by Robyn Creswell. In one of these, ‘Tomorrows That Sing’, Kilito remembers a summer camp where the boys were starved and made to keep their spirits up by singing patriotic songs all day long – until a strange woman appeared driving a car (something ...

Black, not Noir

Adam Shatz: Sonallah Ibrahim, 7 March 2013

‘That Smell’ and ‘Notes from Prison’ 
by Sonallah Ibrahim, translated by Robyn Creswell.
New Directions, 110 pp., £11.99, March 2013, 978 0 8112 2036 1
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... could have been surprised: Egyptians, he suggests, were defeated before the war even started. In Robyn Creswell’s new translation, That Smell seems not so much written as secreted; it leaves you feeling tense and clammy, as it must have done when it was first published. Ibrahim was 29 then, and only two years out of prison, where he’d served five ...

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