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Mordechai's Moustache & His Wife's Cat

Mordechai's Moustache & His Wife's Cat

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Mahmoud Shukair’s first major publication in English translation enthralls, surprises and shocks as one of the world’s most original of storytellers excels in exposing the surreal moments in the ordinary and the mundane, the limits of human frustration and patience, and the intricacies of tiny daily obsessive practices.

Brimming with humour that ranges from the funny and the farcical, to satire and black comedy, with a painter’s eye for colour and detail, Shukair’s stories present a unique commentary on the power of the human spirit to see beyond the particular.

The collection includes the author’s two fascinating autobiographical commentaries “Hemingway in Jerusalem” and “My Journey in Writing”.

Here is the brilliantly observed clutter and comedy of everyday lives, the lives of ordinary people pushed up against an iron occupation and fighting for survival with all the comic and moving strategems of the human imagination. Shukair’s gift for absurdist satire is never more telling than in the hilarious title story which turns and pulls the leg (or the moustache) of the occupation, in the classic tradition of Palestinian satire. — Judith Kazantzis

Translated from the Arabic by Issa J. Boullata, Elizabeth Whitehouse, Liz Winslow and Mahmoud Shukair.

Mahmoud Shukair was born in 1941 in Jerusalem, and grew up there. With a Masters degree in Philosophy and Sociology he worked for many years as a teacher, journalist and editor-in-chief of cultural magazines.

He was jailed twice by the Israeli authorities, lasting nearly two years, and in 1975 was deported to Lebanon. He returned to Jerusalem in 1993 after living in Beirut, Amman and Prague. He is the author of 25 books, nine short story collections, 13 works for children, a biography and a travelogue. He has written six drama series for TV, three plays and countless newspaper and magazine articles.
Some of his short stories have been published in French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, as well as English.