We Are All Equally Far From Love
A young woman, asked at work to write a letter to an older man, does as she is told. So begins an enigmatic but passionate love affair conducted entirely in letters. A love affair? Maybe. Until his letters stop coming. Or... maybe the letters do not reach their intended recipient? Only the teenage Afaf, who works at the local post office, would know. Her favorite duty is to open the mail and inform her collaborator father of the contents- until she finds a mysterious set of love letters, apparently returned to their sender. In the hands of Adania Shibli, the discovery of these letters makes for a wrenching meditation on lives lived ensnared within the dictates of others.
"Adania Shibli's second book We Are All Equally Far From Love confirms her as a rare, challenging talent. It is neither an easy nor always a pleasant read, but it is an extraordinary piece of writing which weaves together melancholia, beauty, violence and brutish physicality in an extended meditation on love and loneliness" with its deft handling of beauty and humor alongside pain and isolation, its multi-colored tones and shifting moods, it becomes a dark, difficult, exhausting but ultimately cathartic exploration of the depths of the human psyche."
We Are All Equally Far From Lovewill confirm [Shibli's] reputation as a formally brilliant literary artist, whose stylistic innovations and bold feel for language affirm contemporary fiction's capacity to be reinvented anew... Sharply individualized and movingly convincing in their raw tenderness and candor, these varying perspectives are finely wrought to the level of poetry, yet retain the sense of issuing directly from the characters' anguished subjectivity."
Shibli's newest book is less cryptic and decidedly more insistent, consisting of eight short stories whose plots initially seem linked but soon disconnect one from another- just as Shibli's lovelorn characters break up or fail to connect each story is a variation on a theme, the burden of which is the difficulty of finding and sustaining love"[Shibli] has done well to remind us that sometimes when love falters, we need to look no further for the reason why than the nearest mirror."
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