Shlomo the Kurd, Me and the Time
Samir Naqqash

Time drew a deep breath in order to go on with his story. He stood up proudly and asked, “What do you think of how I’m telling the events?”

I said to arrogant Time, “But Shlomo Katani told me the story. Let me tell it in his words.”

This is a novel about the horrors of the twentieth century, about the Jewish refugee, who wanders from the Kurdish city Sablah, to Bagdad, from Tehran and from Bombay, until his immigration to Israel, and the feeling of exile that continues to haunt him until his dying day. The wrangling between the narrator and Time over the question of who will tell the story and how it will be told is a central axis of this epic novel, which recounts the hundred years of wandering of Shlomo the Kurd.

Samir Naqqash, who was born in Iraq and immigrated as a child to Israel and insisted on writing only in Arabic, is considered the greatest of the twentieth-century Jewish writers in Iraq. Naqqash’s prose, in literary Arabic, contains an unprecedented multiplicity of dialects and presents semantic fugues and rare words. That, apparently, was one of the reasons for the continuing delay in translating his works into Hebrew. Shlomo the Kurd, Me and the Timeis the first novel by Naqqash to be translated into Hebrew.

Translators: Samira Yosef and Ruth Naqqash-Vigiser | Translation Editor: Benyamin Reish