Ghassan Zaqtan: النقل القديم مع الستائر، (An Old Carriage with Curtains)

The latest addition to my website is Ghassan Zaqtan‘s نقل القديم مع الستائر، (An Old Carriage with Curtains). This is an episodic novel with the narrator recounting episodes of his life and the life of his family, in particular his mother, since the Nakba. We learn of Zakhariyya where his mother was born. She longs to return but cannot get a permit, a very complictaed process, as she particularly wants to see the railway. Our hero visits the place several times but cannot initially find the railway. We learn of the difficulties in getting permits and of crossing checkpoints. But he also walks from Jericho to Jerusalem road (18 miles) and recounts the historical sites he sees. Above all it is about memories, what happened in the past, whether it is relationship with a woman called Hind, his time in a camp in the Jordan Valley or life in Zakhariyya. This is a first-class novel about struggling with the past and the the present.

Leave a comment