Thursday, August 16, 2018

the last book I ever read (Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, excerpt two)

from Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright):

Elishva shoved her cat off the sofa and brushed away the loose cat hairs. She couldn’t actually see any hairs, but she knew from stroking the cat that its hair was falling out all over the place. She could overlook the hair unless it was in her special spot on the sofa facing the large picture of Saint George the Martyr that hung between smaller gray pictures of her son and her husband, framed in carved wood. There were two other pictures of the same size, one of the Last Supper and the other of Christ being taken down from the cross, and three miniatures copied from medieval icons, drawn in thick ink and faded colors, depicting various saints, some of whose names she didn’t know because it was her husband who had put them up many years ago. They were still as they were originally hung, some in the parlor, some in her bedroom, some in Daniel’s room, which was closed, and some in the other abandoned rooms.

Almost every evening she sat there to resume her sterile conversation with the saint with the angelic face. The saint wasn’t in ecclesiastical dress: he was wearing thick, shiny plates of armor that covered his body and a plumed helmet, with his wavy blond hair peeking out from under the helmet. He was holding a long pointed lance and sitting on a muscular white horse that had reared up to avoid the jaws of a hideous dragon encroaching from the corner of the picture, intent on swallowing the horse, the saint, and all his military accoutrements.

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