Mordechai’s moustache and his wife’s cats by Mahmoud Shukair

source – library

Mahmoud Shukair was born in Jerusalem mount scopius in 1941 ,studied philosophy at university and was Palestine minster of culture from 97 -00 ,he has also been a Journalist and is currently working on the  mahmoud Darwish prize ,he has a great site in arabic that I translated via  google .Mordechai’s moustache is a collection of stories and Vignettes his first collection to be translated in to english by Banipal books .

The book has four longer short stories ,all funny and poignant in their own ways ,a talk about the Columbian pope star Shakira hows family originate from Palestine originally ,a tale about will the brazilian footballer Ronaldo come to Palestine ,the title story a funny tale set on a board post a touch of gallows humor .But the main part I loved was the Vignettes these were total gems ,they remind me of Ben Okri describing the process when he wrote his ultra short stories for tales of freedom as being like fiction Hakiu ,well I think these are like that ,these are like postcards of life under fire  a Polaroid of Palestine some of these made me belly laugh the man sing to a women that had moved ,others were dark a murder scene by a fountain,you jump in and out weather it shopping ,loss .It is clever mix the palenstine situaton leads to a dark humour which is wonderfully caught in the title story .the stories are vivid are vibrant

Mordechai was a simple man .There were tens of thousands like him in Tel Aviv .However ,he insisted that there were few like him there .He liked to live an easy , comfortable life , not disturbing anyone and not being disturbed by anyone .that,s why Mordechai continued to be like by his neighbours ,for he did not disturb them .mordechai joined the army and left it .

opening of title story .

Most of the stories were translated by Issa Bouletta ,who’s retired gentleman I read a couple of years ago another book worth reading .the book is short 110 pages .a  wonderful view of a fractured land and its people

Have you read any Palestine fiction ?

January 2011


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