The last dinner

The new collection of stories by novelist Mohamed el-Mansi Qandil, titled Ashaa Berefqat Aisha (A Dinner with Aisha) consists of 11 short stories. Qandil lived most of his life in Kuwait where he worked as an editor for Al-Arabi magazine for over two decades.

ُQandil has several collections of stories published since the early 1970s–such as Mann Qatal Mariam el-Safi (Who killed Maraim el-Safi?) and Bai’ Nafs Basharia (Sale of a Human Soul)–but his latest collection represents a real milestone as it explores new horizons in the same world that the writer tackled in his previous works.

Below is an excerpt from his story Ashaa Berefqat Aisha (A Dinner with Aisha):

“If there’s a restaurant indeed, it will be difficult to recognize, for there isn’t a plaque or sign to point it out, only a row of old houses, the walls of one them replaced with a dark, dusty, opaque glass facade. Light does not penetrate this facade, and it does not reflect any images or shadows. The blandly flat window stretches among the holes and lacerated cracks that run along the walls of the crumbling houses around it. On one side of the glass window is a small door, next to which is a deep green plant in a pot. When I touched the plant I discovered it wasn’t real, but made from a cold metal.”

Book: Ashaa Berefqat Aisha (A Dinner with Aisha)
Author: Mohamed el-Mansi Qandil
Publisher: Merit, Cairo, 2010
245 medium-size pages

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