We are All Equally Far from Love

Publishing House: Clockroot Books

Publication Year: 2012

Genre: Short Stories

Number of Pages: 148

“We are All Equally Far from Love” by Adania Shibli is a novel that delves deep into the complexities and nuances of human relationships. The story unfolds through a series of interconnected narratives, each exploring the themes of love, alienation, and the boundaries of relationships.

The novel begins with a young woman, employed in an office, who is tasked by her boss to write a letter to an older man. This seemingly mundane task ignites an intense and enigmatic love affair, conducted entirely through letters. However, the relationship takes a mysterious turn when the letters suddenly cease. The suspense around whether these letters ever reached their intended destination is heightened by the involvement of Afaf, a teenager working at the local post office. She is burdened with the responsibility of monitoring the mail under the direction of her father, who is a collaborator. Amidst this routine, Afaf discovers a set of love letters, and she decides to alter their intended course, marking a pivotal moment in the novel.

Afaf’s own life is shadowed by the disgrace she feels following her mother’s decision to leave her father for another man. This personal narrative of Afaf is later mirrored in another story within the novel — that of a woman who abandons her husband for a new love, expressing her feelings in a letter.

Shibli weaves these individual stories into a complex tapestry, creating a novel that is a profound exploration of the fragile and often transient nature of human connections. The prose in “We are All Equally Far from Love” is both intense and delicately nuanced, offering a piercing look at the alienation and longing inherent in human desire.

The novel’s structure, a chain of stories intertwined to form a cohesive narrative, serves as an incisive examination of relationships and their inherent limitations. Each story segment contributes to the overarching theme, presenting relationships in various forms — fragile, indirect, and significant. “We are All Equally Far from Love” stands as a haunting portrayal of the universal quest for connection and the intrinsic distance that lies at the heart of human longing.

Read More About Adania Shibli

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