Adania Shibli

Adania Shibli

Adania Shibli was born in Palestine in 1974, holds a PhD from the University of East London, and has published three novels in Arabic. She splits her time between Berlin and Jerusalem.

Minor Detail

Fiction by Adania Shibli

Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette

Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba—the catastrophe that led to the displacement and exile of some 700,000 people—and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers murder an encampment of Bedouin in the Negev desert, and among their victims they capture a Palestinian teenager and they rape her, kill her, and bury her in the sand.…
More Information
Like an affidavit in its egalitarian specificity—every detail of every character’s action is accounted for, and therefore scrutinized. A starkly poetic accounting of a crime, its burial, and its exhumation.
—Alia Persico-Shammas, Community Bookstore
Adania Shibli’s exceptional novel Minor Detail belongs to the genre of the novel as resistance, as revolutionary text. Simultaneously depicting the dehumanization that surrounds rape and land-grab, it is a text that palpitates with fear and with outrage. As we join the nameless young woman in her quest to find the truth of a long-forgotten atrocity, we realize how dangerous it is to reclaim life and history in the face of ongoing, systematic erasure. The narrative tempo, that eventually reaches a crescendo, astutely captures how alienation and heightened anxiety are elemental states of living under Israeli occupation. This is the political novel we have all been waiting for.
—Meena Kandasamy
An extraordinary work of art, Minor Detail is continuously surprising and absorbing: a very rare blend of moral intelligence, political passion, and formal virtuosity.
—Pankaj Mishra
In Adania Shibli’s subversively quiet, compelling Minor Detail, threads of connection are embodied in a young woman’s quest to find almost erased history. Written in spare, careful language (praise also to translator Elisabeth Jaquette), Shibli helps reclaim what would be obliterated by forces actively at work even today, doing so with a narrative masterfully carrying both surprise and inevitability within. This book has devastation and loss to a shattering, wrenching degree, and yet. Yes, and yet.
—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company
Adania Shibli takes a gamble in entrusting our access to the key event in her novel – the rape and murder of a young Bedouin woman – to two profoundly self-absorbed narrators – an Israeli psychopath and a Palestinian amateur sleuth high on the autism scale – but her method of indirection justifies itself fully as the book reaches its heart-stopping conclusion.
—J.M Coetzee
The most talked-about writer on the West Bank.
—Ahdaf Soueif
Exquisitely powerful: though focused on the finest details-flakes of rust against skin, the softness of grass—Shibli takes readers to the center of a family and a culture, using the same careful, dispassionate observation to report everyday events like the father’s shaving as she does to depict the death of a sibling in area violence. Like a great volume of poetry, Shibli’s prose has rhythm and unexpected momentum, and cries for rereading.
Publishers Weekly
< Alexander Lernet-Holenia Semadar Megged >