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INTERVIEW BY DIMA ALCHUKR

sciously concentrate on the poetic language and would end up not writing what he had intended to write, but what had been suggested to him by the critic. Some critics once praised the poetic language of a certain writer – I won’t mention her name – and she concentrated so much on that particular aspect that her writing turned into an external paint job that had no relation to its content. It is not possible to write in only one type of language, nervously confined to various scenes. For example, there is one language for describing someone climbing the steps of the gallows where he will be hanged, and there is a different language for describing someone climbing steps to see his beloved. The writer must have the sensitivity to enable him to distinguish between the two sets of stairs.

Do grammatical mistakes bother you?

Very much so, and I abandon the book immediately. I have purchased a large number of translated novels that I have not been able to read because they are full of ghastly grammatical errors. And it is unfortunate that some critics blame the publishers for publishing without correcting the errors, but don’t blame the writers – as if writing correctly is no longer the responsibility of contemporary writers.

Some writers start writing short stories and then switch to writing novels, as if the short story was practice for writing a novel.

Those writers do not believe the novel is a highly important form of literary expression and, therefore move to the novel, which allows them to write more loosely, after they have failed to write a short story – which is the art of brevity where every word has its own important position.

That is, the short story resembles poetry?

When a storywriter leaves the surface and tries to penetrate the depths he would spontaneously seek shelter in poetry, but if the story deals with a tragic theme then most surely its language would be precise, intense and somewhat non-committal. Poetry, if used in such a situation, would become like an anesthetic for the reader’s

BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015 123

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