Touch centers on a girl, the youngest of nine sisters in a Palestinian family. In the singular world of this novella, this young woman’s everyday experiences—watching a funeral procession, fighting with her siblings, learning to read, perhaps falling in love—resonate until they have become as weighty as any national tragedy. The smallest sensations compel, the events of history only lurk at the edges—the question of Palestine, the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. In a language that feels at once natural and alienated, Shibli breaks with the traditions of modern Arabic fiction, creating a work that has been and will continue to be hailed across literatures. Here every ordinary word, ordinary action is a small stone dropped into water: of inevitable consequence. We find ourselves mesmerized one quiet ripple at a time.
We are All Equally Far from Love