Touch by Adania Shibli
Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar
Clockroot Books, Northhampton, 2010
Borrowed from the library.
A short book, just 72 pages, made up of brief pieces that read like prose poems. It is as if I had up and read bits of paper that were scattered about, and by reading them, learned of the life of a Palestinian girl, the youngest of nine sisters. Through everyday occurrences that gather weight and substance, in language that is ordinary and yet eerily dreamlike, Shibli tells the story of the tragedy that is modern-day Palestine. It is beautiful.
Black swallowed all the colors. She lit the lantern in the room, and the white paint jumped into it while the blackness stood on the windowsill , carelessly filling in the spaces between the windows bars…
Before the sun was created , black alone filled the universe. Black was there before the creation. Before she was born. And after she would die , blackness would return to its place, her empty place. From page 13.
Learning to read and write changes this young woman’s life. Although we can not see into her future we can hope that her world will become a more peaceful place. This book is layered and meaningful, feel my understanding of Touch will increase as I read it again.