A groundbreaking collection of experimental short fiction by Syrian author and Booker International Prize for Arabic Fiction nominee Shahla Ujayli, A Bed for the King’s Daughter uses surrealism and irony to examine women’s agency and the decline of modern collective life.
A groundbreaking collection of experimental short fiction by award-winning Syrian author and Booker International Prize for Arabic Fiction nominee Shahla Ujayli, A Bed for the King’s Daughter uses surrealism and irony to examine such themes as women’s agency, the decline of collective life and imagination under modernity, and the effects of social and political corruption on daily life. In “The Memoir of Cinderella’s Shoes,” Cinderella uses her famous glass slipper as a weapon in order to take justice into her own hands. In “Tell Me About Surrealism,” an art history professor’s writing assignment reveals the slipperiness of storytelling, and in “Merry Christmas,” the realities of apartheid interfere with one family’s celebration. Through twenty-two short stories, Ujayli animates—with brevity and inventiveness—themes relevant to both the particularities of life in the Arab world and life outside it.
“Don’t let the relatively brief length of this collection fool you—these stories offer readers a fascinating cross-section of styles, tones, and themes. Some grapple with the political and social struggles of the present day, while others address more timeless themes. The end result is a memorable showcase for Ujayli’s skills as a writer.”
Words Without Borders
“How do you sharply round out a story that is headed for a cliff? How do you make the sudden feel inevitable, circumventable, then over, as if all at once? Repeatedly, Ujayli manages, if not to square the circle, then to circle the square and so every square within it.”
Chicago Review of Books