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Munira al-Fadhel | Translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins

MUNIRA AL-FADHEL is a Bahraini writer and academic. She is the author of Al-Remora, a collection of short stories, For the Voice, For the Fragile Echo, a novella, and Woman, Place and Memory, a collection of critical essays on Arab women’s writing.

Translator WILLIAM HUTCHINS, who teaches in North Carolina, was educated at Berea, Yale, and the University of Chicago. His translations appear in Words Without Borders, InTranslation at Brooklyn Rail, and Banipal Magazine of Modern Arabic Literature. The Arabic novels he has translated include Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street, and Cairo Modern by Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz (Anchor Books), Basrayatha by the Iraqi author Muhammad Khudayyir (Verso), The Last of the Angels (The Free Press), Cell Block 5 (Arabia Books), and The Traveler and the Innkeeper (American University in Cairo Press) by the Iraqi author Fadhil al-Azzawi, Return to Dar al-Basha by the Tunisian author Hassan Nasr (Syracuse), and Anubis (The American University in Cairo Press), The Seven Veils of Seth (Garnet), and The Puppet (Texas) by Ibrahim al-Koni. He has received two Literary Translation Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the latest for New Waw by Ibrahim al-Koni (University of Texas Press).

For the Voice, For the Fragile Echo

The machine burns its words into the voids of the cloth, droning the conversation stitch by stitch into the triangles of the shoulder and the indentations of the waist, as concentric circles in a legendary organization of whatever is clamoring in the heart.

For the Voice, For the Fragile Echo

When we sat scattered around the yard, which we secured with this old iron bolt, as we did each lunar month, it was easy to miss her arrival, which she dissimulated and wished to cache in an atmosphere that she caressed affectionately with her constant motion, because she valued a beautiful surprise or the possibility of a hush-hush entrance veiled in tranquility.

For the Voice, For the Fragile Echo

The news came as a surprise, despite the information we announced about the forthcoming events as they happened. Our heads leaned toward each other in consecutive consultations as we applied the balsam of disdain on the fissures and breaks that destiny covertly imposed on us when we split safety with the sash of radiant repose, which is our captivating mirage now that the event has occurred.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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