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INTERVIEW BY DIMA ALCHUKR

I am proud that I write the short story, which I consider to be the most difficult form of literary expression, and regard it as the form of literature that currently suffers from injustice, for it does not receive the respect and appreciation it deserves. If the short story writer is talented s/he could make it employ some of the best features of the novel, the play, poetry and music. It seems to me that the short story resembles a knife, which a bad writer uses to peel potatoes whereas a good writer uses it to kill a tiger.

Speaking of tigers, in your famous story, Tigers on the Tenth Day, the protagonist is just one tiger, but the title is in the plural, referring to many tigers. The title seemed to point to the possibility of generalizing the state of the tiger; here I feel strongly that you are writing a story that has a message to deliver.

No, because in the end the tiger becomes a citizen in a city. So I am talking about citizens of cities.

But you chose the title after you wrote the story, not before?

True. When I wrote that story it didn’t occur to me that critics would be that ignorant, to the degree that they were not aware of what is common knowledge about the nature of tigers. For the tiger is an animal that cannot be trained, and if it is trained, that training is temporary. When a tiger performs in a circus there is always a guard with a rifle ready to shoot the tiger, for there is no telling when it might revert to its true nature. For that reason I took the tiger as a symbol for the people to tell their ruler not to be deceived by their obedient docile behavior, for you don’t know when they would rise against you.

Does a long experience in writing and the practice of it make it easier? Or is it the opposite? Is it possible you feel you’re repeating yourself? And how do you go about reviewing and editing your writing?

Every one of my stories is developed differently. I might write a whole story in one day but then spend months editing it and adding to it, and I consider every word, wondering “Is its presence neces-

BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015 125

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