Like Spirit

Like Spirit
(working title)
كما روح
(Kama ruh)

Written by

(آن الصافي)

Published by


A love spell that travels across time and space

Like Spirit opens with a dystopian execution scene, presided over by a ruler who doesn’t know who he is or remember how he got there. His story intertwines across space and time with that of a village folk musician and a tribesman from a society governed by ritual. All three characters share an obsessive love for a woman with a long braid who appears in multiple guises and is given voice by Hanaa, a modern-day woman repeatedly told that she resembles a dead or missing sister or relative with a long braid. The four protagonists may or may not be connected by actual kinship, but they are bound by a more mysterious force.

This novel plays with ideas of doppelgängers and twinned spirits, while exploring themes of war, injustice, the power of tradition, the nature of love, and the relationship between humans and nature. Structured in twenty-two chapters and narrated in multiple first-person voices, its threads meet and part in ways evocative of the shape of the braid that forms its central motif.

Approximate number of pages: 204 p.

Foreign rights: contact the publisher


Reasons to publish this book

Like Spirit asks big questions about the nature of consciousness, humanity’s relationship to legends and rituals, and how myth – inherited or forged – intersects with our experiences of love, war, and community. Reminiscent of mythical fantasies like Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, it resists categorisation while remaining a deceptively easy read. The tone is that of a dark, slightly warped, fairy-tale. But El Safi’s interest in futuristic philosophies also invites the interpretation of a multiverse premise.


  • English


    by Nariman Youssef

    published as

    Freedom of Flight in the United States in 2020 by Words Without Borders
Reviewed by Nariman Youssef