The story opens with a tragic accident, then quickly shifts to a first-person narration that begins with a meeting between Abdallah (the narrator) and Amer, in which the former is entrusted with a manuscript detailing the same haunting opening scene.
Next, Abdallah meets the enigmatic and reclusive author al-Azraq, whose conversations about the writing process inspire intense writing sessions that Abdallah forgets as soon as they happen. Gradually, the sinister truth of al-Azraq’s characters being “stolen from their owners” is revealed, as people from the lives of Amer and Abdallah are discovered chained in al-Azraq’s basement.
As this short and gripping novella unfolds, the boundaries between fiction and reality blur, culminating in a charged confrontation between Amer and Abdallah. When a gunshot rings out, the reader is left questioning the fates of these entwined characters.
Each chapter is subtitled by a word from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which underlines the book’s preoccupation with the power and limitations of language, that is with writing itself.
Approximate number of pages: 110 p.
Foreign rights: contact the publisher