Magazine article New Internationalist

The Hidden Light of Objects

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Hidden Light of Objects

Article excerpt

The Hidden Light of Objects by Mai Al-Nakib (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, ISBN 9789992195413)

In this, her first collection of stories, Kuwaiti author Mai Al-Nakib excavates meaning from the overlooked and the unremarked. In 10 tales, interspersed by linking 'vignettes', she shows how, in the midst of mayhem and strife, people get on with their lives. War, disaster and religious conflict are all present here but the author keeps the focus on the individual and, as in life, private joy and grief loom larger than news items.

Mai Al-Nakib writes perceptively about adolescence and, in several stories - 'The Diary', 'Echo Twins and Bear', for example - we are privy to the gradual teenage realization that there is a world beyond solipsism and self-absorption. Of course, wider events have a way of intruding whether we will it or not - as Trotsky said: 'You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you'. …

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