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trated by Abigail O’Brien, and reviews of his collections in English and German translation. Translators of Tamer into German, Turkish, Serbian, Sardinian and English, fellow Arab authors and critics were keen to contribute to this banquet of short stories à la Zakaria Tamer. Srpko Leštarić, who has translated nine of Tamer’s collections into Serbian, writes about the sharp blade of his satire that “slashes our harsh reality in two” and how ”his sentences are quick and clear as teardrops”. Alessandro Columbu relates that Zakaria Tamer’s works “make him a perfect literary companion for those who wish to discover Syria” and that he has translated the Breaking Knees collection into his mother tongue of Sardinian, the first Arabic work ever to be published in Sardinian. Mahmoud Shukair, Fadhil al-Azzawi and Ismail Fahd Ismail all recall meeting Zakaria Tamer in the early years. Hartmut Fähndrich, Denys Johnson-Davies and Mehmet Hakkı Suçin write about translating and publishing Tamer in German, English, and Turkish respectively. Arab literary critics Subhi Hadidi and Abdo Wazen write about how different Tamer is from other short story writers, “dissident” and “unconventional”, creating a “theatre of fantasy, shadows and faces”. An important part of the feature is an interview by Syrian critic Dima Alchukr with Zakaria Tamer that ranges from his childhood and starting to write in 1958, even though he had a “real terror of the short story”, which Tamer considers to be “the most dificult form of literary expression, to his latest work, a series of satirical essays, directed, as he says, “against oppression and oppressors”.

Margaret Obank with Zakaria Tamer at his home in Oxford

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Also in Banipal 53, excerpts from new novels by two Iraqi authors, Ali Bader and Shakir Noori, and poems by two well-known Lebanese poets, Charbel Dagher and Jawdat Fakhreddine.

MARGARET OBANK

BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015 9

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