A Bed for the King’s Daughter

Publishing House: Ctr for Middle Eastern Studies UT-Austin

Publication Year: 2021

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 72

“A Bed for the King’s Daughter” by Shahla Ujayli is an innovative collection of short stories that showcases the Syrian author’s unique approach to storytelling. Ujayli, a nominee for the prestigious Booker International Prize for Arabic Fiction, uses this collection to explore a variety of themes . Including the autonomy of women, the impact of modernity on collective life and imagination, and the influence of social and political corruption on everyday existence. The stories in this collection are characterized by their use of surrealism and irony. Providing fresh perspectives on both timeless and contemporary issues.

One of the notable stories in the collection is “The Memoir of Cinderella’s Shoes” . Where Cinderella employs her iconic glass slipper not as a symbol of fairy-tale romance, but as a tool for exacting justice. Similarly, “Tell Me About Surrealism” features an art history professor . Whose assignment on surrealism becomes a metaphor for the elusive nature of storytelling. Another story, “Merry Christmas,” juxtaposes the joyous holiday against the harsh realities of apartheid, affecting a family’s celebration. These and the other nineteen stories in the collection bring to life various themes with succinctness and creativity . Reflecting Ujayli’s talent for capturing the essence of both Arab and global experiences.

Critics have praised the collection for its breadth and depth despite its concise format. Words Without Borders highlights the diverse range of styles, tones, and themes present in the stories . Which tackle both current socio-political issues and universal subjects. The Chicago Review of Books commends Ujayli’s ability to craft stories that are concise yet profound . Often steering towards unexpected conclusions that feel both surprising and inevitable.

“A Bed for the King’s Daughter” stands out for its experimental narrative style and its insightful exploration of significant themes. Ujayli’s ability to weave intricate tales that resonate with readers both within and outside . The Arab world is a testament to her skill as a storyteller and her understanding of the human condition. This collection not only entertains but also offers profound commentary on the complexities of life in the modern world.

Read More About Shahla Ujayli

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