Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

"The things I would tell you" by Sabrina Mahfouz (ed), (Saqi Books, 2017)

Essays, stories, poetry and plays by British Muslim women (some Orange/Man-Booker short/long-listed, some new). The introduction says "It never fails to surprise me how much representation can empower and how much non- or misrepresentation can disempower".

I liked most of the stories, especially Fadia Faqir's piece and Kamila Shamsie's story. Ahdaf Soueif's interesting essay suggests that Egypt in the 60s was more multiculturally integrated than Putney was. She suggests that the West misrepresented and clumped Arabs far more than the Arab media (especially Al Jazeera) misreported the West.

I had trouble with nearly all the poetry - too ranty and uncrafted for my tastes.

Sabrina Mahfouz's piece is all dialogue (presented like a screen-play). I liked it, though the added bloat required by the form rather dilutes the effect.

Other reviews

  • Jane Housham
  • Goodreads
  • Farhana Shaikh (The sheer breadth of work coupled with a range of voices is a real achievement. Established names are published alongside emerging talents.)

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