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 expulsion of more than 700,000 people – and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers capture and rape a young Palestinian woman, and kill and bury her in the sand. Many years later, a woman in Ramallah becomes fascinated to the point of obsession with this ‘minor detail’ of history. A haunting meditation on war, violence and memory, Minor Detail cuts to the heart of the Palestinian experience of dispossession, life under occupation, and the persistent difficulty of piecing together a narrative in the face of ongoing erasure and disempowerment.
Here, Adania Shibli reads from the Arabic and Elisabeth Jaquette reads from the English translation, published in May 2020 by Fitzcarraldo Editions.
‘All novels are political and Minor Detail, like the best of them, transcends the author’s own identity and geography. Shibli’s writing is subtle and sharply observed.’
— Fatima Bhutto, Guardian
‘A sophisticated, oblique novel about empathy and the urge to right wrongs’
— Anthony Cummins, Observer
‘Shibli writes to both give voice and honor silence; Jaquette does the same, rendering her prose with a sharpness that pulls us along, on edge.’