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The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories

by Osama Alomar

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In Alomar's stories, fantasy never devolves into mere whimsy. His magical imaginative creations are, every one, inspired by his deeply felt philosophical, moral, and political convictions, giving these tales a heartfelt urgency.

—Lydia Davis, The New Yorker

Wonderful short stories that sharpen awareness, from a brilliantly gifted Syrian refugee


The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories

Fiction by Osama Alomar

translated from the Arabic by Osama Alomar and C. J. Collins

Some of the teeth of the comb were envious of the class differences that exist between humans. They strived desperately to increase their height, and, when they succeeded, began to look with disdain on their colleagues below.

After a little while the comb’s owner felt a desire to comb his hair. But when he found the comb in this state he threw it in the garbage.

From Osama Alomar, a brilliant Syrian writer living in exile in Pittsburgh, come these wonderful stories populated by personified swords and snakes and swamps, wolves and zeroes and rainbows. In The Teeth of the Comb they aspire, they plot, they hope, they destroy, they fail. But they always animate new realities—and make us see our realities anew. Reading Alomar's sly moral fables and sharp political allegories, we sit up a little straighter and a little wiser.

published April 25th, 2017