karenvanuska (karenvanuska) wrote,

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Late Night Reading

PEN America:  A Journal for Writers and Readers

It's hard for me to hate my bouts of insomnia since they've become such productive times for me.  Last night I used the time to finally read my latest edition of PEN America.  The first story "Soap and Ambergris" by Saudi writer Yousef Al-Mohaimeed blew me away.  It is adapted from his second novel, Al-Qarura (The Bottle) which, sadly, has not been published in English yet.  You can find the whole excerpt (it's quite short ... really) at PEN America's website here

Here's is the opening paragraph as a tease:

"I live in a small, single-story house in Al-Atayef Quarter.  My husband didn't leave me anything, apart from a mud house that shakes when the thunder crashes and the rain pours.  I live off the kindness of other Muslims, either from charity or zakat.  I wash the dead for Allah's sake, and take whatever kindness or generosity the family of the deceased offers in return."   

Go read this story, and support PEN America if you have a few pennies leftover.  It's money well-spent. 
Tags: pen america, short stories, souap and ambergris, yousef al-mohaimeed
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