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Paul Starkey reviews Tigers on the Tenth Day and Other Stories by Zakaria Tamer, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

The Hedgehog: A Novella by Zakaria Tamer translated by Brian O’Rourke, and Short Stories translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

A harsh and sometimes puzzling world

Tigers on the Tenth Day, as originally published by Quartet Books, contains translations by Denys Johnson-Davies of twenty-four selected stories by Zakaria Tamer, some (but by no means all) of which had originally been published in Arabic in a collection itself entitled al-Numūr fī al-yawm al-‘āshir (Beirut, 1978). Long out of print in the Quartet edition, the same selection of twenty-four stories was incorporated without change in a new volume published by AUC Press in 2009, which also includes three additional short stories translated by Johnson-Davies, as well as the novella The Hedgehog (al-Qunfuth) in a translation by Brian O’Rourke. The AUC republication was particularly welcome, as the Quartet edition – which brought together stories by one of the Arab world’s leading short story writers with the work of the doyen of modern Arabic-English literary translators – was by then difficult to find and has now become almost a collector’s item.

Like most of Tamer’s work, the stories contained in these volumes are notable for their conciseness. With the exception of the novella itself, none of the twenty-seven stories contained in The Hedgehog

102 BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015

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