Translating Libya: In Search of the Libyan Short Story
Part anthology and part travelogue, Translating Libya presents the country through the eyes of sixteen Libyan short story writers and one American diplomat. Intrigued by the apparent absence of ‘place’ in modern Libyan short fiction, Ethan Chorin resolved to track down and translate stories that specifically mention cities and landmarks in Libya. The stories trace the influence of the ancient Romans, the later Italian occupation and the current influx of foreign workers from Africa and further afield.
he authors open a window on today’s Libya – a rapidly urbanizing country with rich oil reserves, recently renewed diplomatic relations with the West and a nascent tourist industry based on its well-preserved ancient cities. This is a unique introduction to a country that has for some time been ‘off the beaten path’.
Ten-year-old Tommy roams the cotton fields of Alabama owned by the notorious Captain Archer. Intimidating guards with fierce dogs protect the land. prevent any slaves from leaving. That is until a supernatural spirit visits Tommy offering a way out. With his banjo slung over his shoulder, Peg Leg Joe guides Tommy, his family and other slaves out of Southern USA, and into Canada through the legendary Underground Railroads. Stretched for miles across the country’s vastness, the network famously facilitated more than 100,000 slaves to a new life. For Tommy and his family, the escape is far from an easy ride. The young boy is forced to mature through this testing period, and allow his strong will to guide himself and others to safety under the guidance of Peg Leg Joe.
Set in the 19th century, D’adamo’s well-constructed novel tells a story distant in time, remains grounded in a reality that still exists today. Millions of people across the globe continue to be enslaved, including children. Oh Freedom! is about a child’s loss of innocence, and perseverance in the face of oppression.
As a woman in an ultraconservative society, our ill-fated heroine remains nameless: she is just another hurma, literally ‘sanctity,’ an entity to be protected from violation or dishonour – even the supposed dishonour of being named or heard.
Growing up in the oppressive atmosphere of her childhood home in Sana’a, Hurma is buffeted by starkly contrasting influences – her brother’s socialist atheism, her sister’s extravagant but ultimately tragic sexuality, her teachers’ piety, and the intoxicating effect of underground local pornography.
Hurma finds herself further and further from home, caught up in jihad but still as powerless and marginalised as ever, trapped in a series of increasingly desultory relationships with impotent men. As her chances of finding a meaningful adult relationship wither before her eyes, her deteriorating mental health conspires with her sexual frustration to lead her to the only truly climactic event she can precipitate for herself: the ultimate act of rebellion.