Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, August 28, 2017

"Your Baby" - A Short Story by Asmaa Alghoul (2015, translated from Arabic)

You may read "Your Baby" on the Website of Words Without Borders

Information on Women in Translation Month, August, 2017, #womenintranslation

Short stories I have read so far for Women In Translation Month - August, 2017

  1. "Happy New Year" by Ajaat Cour - Translated from Punjabi
  2. "The Floating Forest" by Natsuo Kirino- Translated from Japanese
  3. " A Home Near the Sea" by Kamala Das - Translated from Malayalam
  4. "Maria" by Dacia Maraini- Translated from Italian
  5. "Zletka" by Maja Hrgovic - Translated from Croatian
  6. "Arshingar" by Jharna Raham - Translated from Bengali
  7. "Tsipke" by Salomea Perl - Translated from Yiddish
  8. "Mother" by Urmilaw Pawar - Translated from Marathi
  9. "My Creator, My Creation" by Tiina Raevaara - Translated from Finnish
  10. "Cast Offs" by Wajida Tabassum - Translated from Urdu
  11. It's All Up to You" by Slywia Chutnik - Translated from Polish
  12. "Covert Joy" by Clarice Lispector- Translated from Portuguese 
  13. "The Daughter, The Wife, and the Mother" by Arupa Kilita - Translated from Assam
  14. "Red Glow of the New Moon" by Kundanika Kapadia - translated from Gujarati
  15. "Breaking Point" by Usha Mahajan- translated from Hindu
  16. "The Gentleman Thief" by Goli Taraghi - translated from Persian
  17. "Spider Web" by Mariana Enriguez- translated from Spanish
  18. "My New Home" by Glaydah Namukasa - translated from Swahil
  19. "A Mansion with Many Rooms" by Kutti Ravathi - translated from Tamil
  20. "The Far Shore" by Yoko Tawada - translated from Japanese
  21. "Magnet" by Amy Yamaha - translated from Japanese
  22. "The Pomegranate Lady and her Sons" by Goli Taraghi - translated from Persian 
  23. "A Mansion with Many Rooms" by Kutti Revathi - translated from Tamil
  24. "Your Baby" by Asmaa Al Ghul - translated from Arabic 

"Your Baby" by Asmaa Al Ghul brings to vivid reality the emotions and feelings of a woman giving birth.  The story has a very visual and cinematic quality.  I thought it was of interest that the woman noted her doctor was Indian and her nurse South African.  The lines below capture a universal feeling that transcends language limits:

"The phantoms behind the white sheet were moving more quickly now. For a moment she felt like she was the metal base of some electric machine, its gears and levers moving left and right. A wave of drowsiness came over her, the effect of the Indian doctor’s sedative, but she resisted it. She’d feel guilty if she missed the moment, missed the madness of nine months of creation. This, quite simply, was what it all came down to: the whole world becomes pregnant and gives birth and humanity keeps on growing by reproduction and mirrors, but her womb was the exception. It was as if all those pregnancies and births, the poetry of which the world knows nothing, had piled up inside of her. Their symptoms and conditions and emotions were all nesting in her nerves. They were all in her. In her heart. In her mind. It was like that throughout the nine months of anticipation, when she could feel a small being clawing her from inside her stomach.
Where was that tiny person?
She waited and waited, afraid the sedative would make its way to her eyelids and she’d lose… She opened her eyes to the sound of crying, but she couldn’t see the source of that tiny voice. Maybe they’d forgotten she was his mother. She didn’t know. She cried out, but the words would not come. She could hear the vague sound of crying, like water coming raspingly out of an old faucet. She knew her son wasn’t some old metal pipe, but she just wanted to make sure, to see him in that moment of absence and awareness.
“Your baby.”
Those words preceded their showing her that dirty naked creature that looked like a human snail, from his wet hair to his wriggling limbs. Except it was a creature that made her cry. Her crying came out in sobs, and in warm tears, too.
It was a crying that bore fear for that creature, a fear of the world she’d leave him as his inheritance. And there was another fear as well: that he’d make her bear the guilt when the time came for that life to experience disappointment in its hopes and dreams. A crying that printed a new wound in the heart, but one that bore the ancient name: love."

This story was translated by Kareem Abu-Zeid. The author's last name is sometimes translated as "Al Ghoul" or "Alghoul"

Asmaa Alghoul

Image of Asmaa Alghoul
Asmaa Alghoul was born in 1982 in Rafah, a Gazan city bordering Egypt whose population is mainly Palestinian refugees. At the age of 18, Alghoul won the Palestinian Youth Literature Award. In 2010, she received a Hellman/Hammett award from Human Rights Watch, aimed at helping writers "who dare to express ideas that criticize official public policy or people in power." In 2012, Alghoul was awarded the Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women’s Media Foundation. She works for Lebanon’s Samir Kassir Foundation, which lobbies for media freedom. Her work has been translated into English, Danish and Korean. 

No comments: