A collection of eight short stories that dissect the senselessness of war in contemporary Libyan society by placing the details of everyday life in an absurd dimension. Conflict is embodied by the family disputes and the village truces in “The Burglar in White Socks” and “The Young Cow Crossed the Field”, while the titular story “Catalogue of a Private Life” and “Conventions for the Protection of Pestles” depict the interaction between the military and ordinary people. “When can we go home?” is a touching account of survival amid total destruction. The other three short stories reveal the incongruity of serious political issues and question our gaze.
The setting of these stories is often undefined: if a town or a city is mentioned, it is not described in detail, but rather transposed into a dream-like atmosphere through storytelling. The witty observation of these places allows the author to critically address issues such as patriarchy, religion, a quest for identity, and resistance.
Approximate number of pages: 80p.
Foreign rights: contact the author