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Minor Detail
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About the Author

Adania Shibli was born in Palestine in 1974, holds a Ph.D. from the University of East London, and has published three novels in Arabic. She splits her time between Berlin and Jerusalem. Elisabeth Jaquette is a translator from the Arabic and Executive Director of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).

Reviews

"An explosive double-telling of a single crime story.... The extreme economies of Shibli's style-blending aphorism and enigma, dry humor and searing critique-recall the novellas of Cesar Aira and Mario Bellatin. In the act of writing such an evocative, tightly wrought fiction, in her invention of such a complex, fighting character who is at once the victim's double and the author's stand-in, Shibli not only reflects the deadening conditions of occupation. She also, crucially, transcends the damage they have done." -- 4Columns
""Like an affidavit in its egalitarian specificity-every detail of every character's action is accounted for, and therefore scrutinized. A starkly poetic accounting of a crime, its burial, and its exhumation."" -- Alia Persico-Shammas - Community Bookstore
"In Adania Shibli's subversively quiet, compelling Minor Detail, threads of connection are embodied in a young woman's quest to find almost erased history. Written in spare, careful language (praise also to translator Elisabeth Jaquette), Shibli helps reclaim what would be obliterated by forces actively at work yet today, doing so with a narrative masterfully carrying both surprise and inevitability within. This book has devastation and loss to a shattering, wrenching degree, and yet. Yes, and yet." -- Rick Simonson - Elliott Bay Book Company
"Shibli has created a powerful set of dual heroines, women wracked with disquiet and violence, resisting the frames that have first, been chosen for them, then denied to have ever existed. This is an astonishing, major book." -- John Freeman - Lithub
"An intense and penetrating work about the profound impact of living with violence-Shibli's work is powerful and this translation by Elisabeth Jaquette is rendered with exquisite clarity and quiet control." -- Katie da Cunha Lewin - Los Angeles Review of Books
"Startling, cinematic: Shibli's masterly, acidic work of subtle symbolism and plot symmetry gives no access to the thoughts of the Israeli soldiers or their victim, making the Palestinian woman's subsequent first-person narration all the more arresting. This is a remarkable exercise in dramatizing a desire for justice." -- Publishers Weekly
"Exquisitely powerful: though focused on the finest details-flakes of rust against skin, the softness of grass-Shibli takes readers to the center of a family and a culture, using the same careful, dispassionate observation to report everyday events like the father's shaving as she does to depict the death of a sibling in area violence. Like a great volume of poetry, Shibli's prose has rhythm and unexpected momentum, and cries for rereading." -- Publishers Weekly
"The terror Shibli evokes intensifies slowly, smouldering, until it is shining off the page...The book is, at every turn, dangerously and devastatingly good." -- The Guardian
"What links these two stories? Borders, of course, but also some weird echoes. The woman from Ramallah sneaks into Israel to find out more, for there may be 'nothing more important than this little detail, if one wants to arrive at the complete truth.' Shibli delicately suggests that the 'complete truth' of the crime [in Minor Detail] might never be found out, that perhaps the details in the two stories mirror each other because the past isn't even past." -- Yu Miri - The New York Times Book Review
"The most talked-about writer on the West Bank." -- Ahdaf Soueif
"Adania Shibli takes a gamble in entrusting our access to the key event in her novel - the rape and murder of a young Bedouin woman - to two profoundly self-absorbed narrators - an Israeli psychopath and a Palestinian amateur sleuth high on the autism scale - but her method of indirection justifies itself fully as the book reaches its heart-stopping conclusion." -- J. M. Coetzee
"Adania Shibli's exceptional novel Minor Detail belongs to the genre of the novel as resistance, as revolutionary text. Simultaneously depicting the dehumanisation that surrounds rape and land-grab, it is a text that palpitates with fear and with outrage. As we join the nameless young woman in her quest to find the truth of a long-forgotten atrocity, we realize how dangerous it is to reclaim life and history in the face of ongoing, systematic erasure. The narrative tempo, that eventually reaches a crescendo, astutely captures how alienation and heightened anxiety are elemental states of living under Israeli occupation. This is the political novel we have all been waiting for." -- Meena Kandasamy
"An extraordinary work of art, Minor Detail is continuously surprising and absorbing: a very rare blend of moral intelligence, political passion, and formal virtuosity." -- Pankaj Mishra

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