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Stories From the Center of the World

Stories From the Center of the World

Author(s): Jordan Elgrably (Editor)

Location(s): Middle East, North Africa

Genre(s): Short Stories

Era(s): Various

Stories from the Center of the World gathers new writing from the greater Middle East (or SWANA), a vast region that stretches from Southwest Asia, through the Middle East and Turkey, and across Northern Africa. The 25 authors included here come from a wide range of cultures and countries, including Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco, to name some.

In “Asha and Haaji,” Hanif Kureishi takes up the cause of outsiders who become uprooted when war or disaster strikes and they flee for safe haven. In Nektaria Anastasiadou’s “The Location of the Soul According to Benyamin Alhadeff,” two students in Istanbul from different classes — and religions that have often been at odds with one another — believe they can overcome all obstacles. MK Harb’s story, “Counter Strike,” is about queer love among Beiruti adolescents; and Salar Abdoh’s “The Long Walk of the Martyrs” invites us into the world of former militants, fighters who fought ISIS or Daesh in Iraq and Syria, who are having a hard time readjusting to civilian life. In “Eleazar,” Karim Kattan tells an unexpected Palestinian story in which the usual antagonists — Israeli occupation forces — are mostly absent, while another malevolent force seems to overtake an unsuspecting family. Omar El Akkad’s “The Icarist” is a coming-of-age story about the underworld in which illegal immigrants are forced to live, and what happens when one dares to break away.

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