The Perception of Meaning
Translated from the Arabic by Thoraya El-Rayyes
Co-winner of the 2014 King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies
Translation of Arabic Literature Award
"Bustani’s work is experimental, literary fiction with a razor edge, slicing the tops off of familiar myths, tales, legends, and then, transforming them into visceral, grotesque fables."—The Literary Review
"Whose voice is strong enough to examine the heartbreaking mysteries of our times with such wry, unflinching power? Try Hisham Bustani. When he drops his brave bucket into the ‘deep, deep well’ of human doings, expect something excruciatingly perceptive and astonishing to rise. These are not lullabies."—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East
"One of the most influential members of a new generation of
Jordanian writers, Bustani is a progressive novelist who experiments
with both form and content in his work."—The Culture Trip
Hisham Bustani is a Jordanian writer and activist, and the author of four collections of short fiction. Renowned for his contemporary themes, style, and language, he has been described by al-Ra’i as "bringing a new wave of surrealism to [Arabic] literary culture, which missed the surrealist revolution of the last century." Bustani’ s work has been translated into four languages with English-language translations appearing in prestigious journals across the US, UK, and Canada, including World Literature Today, The Common, and The Literary Review. His third short-story collection, The Perception of Meaning, won the 2014 University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award.
Thoraya El-Rayyes, a Palestinian Canadian translator, lives in Amman, Jordan. Her translations
have appeared in numerous journals, including Banipal, Open Letters Monthly, and
World Literature Today, among others.
Book Description »[Close »]
This award-winning collection of seventy-eight pieces of flash fiction presents
an intense and powerful vision of today’s world seen through the eyes of an
alienated and sardonic author. The Perception of Meaning reads like an alternative
history to our world—a collage of small nightmares brought to life by a
canon of unlikely historical figures, including Mark Zuckerberg, the lead singer
of Megadeth, Stanley Kubrick, the Korean activist Lee Kyoung Hae, and the
Mayan poet Humberto Akabal, among others.
A dazzling exemplar of contemporary experimental Arabic literature, The
Perception of Meaning deftly captures a historical moment in which Arab societies
are increasingly questioning the status quo and rebelling against it. Bustani’s
stories speak powerfully to the present and look to the future with a wary eye.
View other series books on Middle East Literature in Translation
5 1/2 x 8, 288 pages