May 2, 2024

Gazelle: A Text Rebelling Against the Eternal Exile of Women


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The narrative text of the short story collection “Gazelle” by the Saudi writer “Omaima Al-Khamis,” published by Dar Al-Mada, consists of 17 diverse stories ranging from short to very short, spanning 92 pages. All of them are classified, in the words of “Omaima Al-Khamis,”as “texts that emerged from the cave of isolation”.

The stories were titled: “Gazelle” “The Extreme in Dispute,” ”Return of spirit,” “Crowding,” “L1,” “The Cat,” “The Scene,” “My Mother Ghoul,” “The Dolphins,” “Manal’s Title,” “The Game,” “Rajim,” “Map of Springs,” “The Good ones are Gone,” “The Chef,” “The Ear,” “The Necklaces of Pearls and The Pomegranate Excess in Ramadan Nights.” All of them shared several aspects such as concise titles and central plots, except for the story “The Necklaces of Gems and the Pomegranate Excess in Ramadan Nights,” which is the longest in terms of both title length and plot complexity, branching into more than 25 subheadings.

Rich diversity and masterful plots

With a Ramadan flavor blending spirituality with fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote “The Necklaces of Gems and the Pomegranate Excess in Ramadan Nights.” The length of the title and its poetic rhythm reflect its influence from both Arabic and Western traditions and culinary rituals. As for the story itself, which is the longest in the collection, it was divided into several sequential subheadings, including: “The Lion,” “Fragments, nuances, and scrolls,” “My Good Fairy,” “Sacrifices Engulfed in Eternity,” “A Bite that Altered the Drama of the Universe,” “The Link to the Beloved in Describing the Good Things and the Goodness,” “A Tribe of Mothers,” “The Two Grandmothers,” “The Bosoms of Women,” “The Swan,” “Destiny/The Body,” “Map of Flavors,” “The Lovers’ Trap,” “The River,” “The Coffee,” “The Dollhouse,” “Mrs. Pot and Miss Spoon,” “The Girlfriends,” “The Hidden Judge,” “Qamar Al-Din,” “O Ant,” “The Hall of Solitude,” “Cheesecake Night,” “Pasha,” “Eid Day.”

Her influence from Greek civilization and mythology became evident when the protagonist of the story sought the aid of the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, strength, war, and protector of cities, to assist her during the Ramadan nights due to the limited time and multiple tasks. This assistance was not related to domestic affairs but rather to writing tasks assigned to her. From her perspective, writing represented salvation and freedom from the prisons of solitude.

Victory for women

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