Alligator and Other Stories
Shortlisted for the 2021 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize
Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection 2021
‘Sardonic, monstrous, tender’ Sunday Times
‘Startling . . . profound’ Daily Mail
In Alligator and Other Stories, Dima Alzayat captures luminously how it feels to be ‘other’: as a Syrian, as an Arab, as an immigrant, as a woman. Each one of the nine stories collected here is a snapshot of those moments when unusual circumstances suddenly distinguish us from our neighbours, when our difference is thrown into relief.
Here are ‘dangerous’ women transgressing, missing children in 1970s New York, a family who were once Syrian but have now lost their name, and a young woman about to discover the hollowness of the American dream. At its centre lies ‘Alligator’: a remarkable compilation of real and invented sources, which rescues from history the story of a Syrian American couple who were murdered at the hands of the state.
Alzayat explores experiences that are startling and real, delivering an emotional punch that lingers long after reading.
Reflective, nostalgic, griefstricken, harrowing. Alzayat's work circles power and politics, but at its centre are people: their relationships, their pasts, their homes. * Mslexia * The collection yields hit after hit, with Alzayat navigating shifts in style, tone and structure with ease. * Big Issue * The richly detailed short fictions in this debut from a Damascus-born scribe form an intricate, breathtaking mosaic of modern Muslim life. * O Magazine * Alzayat's slim, powerful debut collection showcases the author's deep empathy and imagination in stories about grief, assimilation, and trauma . . . This intelligent collection is a force to be reckoned with. * Publishers Weekly, starred review * In the debut short story collection Alligator, author Dima Alzayat proves herself an incredible literary chameleon, writing across history, nationality, gender and age with deep nuance and empathy. -- Dana Czapnik, author of The Falconer Dima Alzayat's stories are nuanced, unusual and emotionally lacerating. Hers is a voice that is both vital and haunting. -- Stuart Evers This is a wonderful collection, exceptional in fact. Its consideration of displacement and identity is so nuanced, intelligent and tender, and its modes of telling so dextrous, apt and beautiful. In Alligator and other Stories, lives are captured with care and formidable compassion. -- Wendy Erskine, author of Sweet Home Alligator and Other Stories is heartfelt, heartbreaking and heart-mending. It's also razor sharp on the shifting layers of history, family, faith, gender, culture and language that make up that strange thing we call 'identity'. An important, necessary book. -- Jenn Ashworth, author of A Kind of Intimacy Tremendously assured, wise-cracking and elegiac . . . [A] wonderful collection that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt caught between cultures, places and the interstices of memory and the loaded everyday. -- Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti Gloriously hypnotic. These charged, visceral stories get under the skin and stay there. This collection heralds the arrival of an electrifying new voice. -- Irenosen Okojie Alligator contains several stories of breathtaking power . . . Start reading now and you can say you were an early fan, because Dima Alzayat combines superb writing with razor-sharp imagination and focuses on social injustice, racial violence, and global immigration. * LitHub * Dima Alzayat's startling, often shocking stories have at their heart a profound sense of dislocation . . . Brilliant. * Daily Mail * How does it feel to be an alien at home? . . . Sardonic, monstrous, tender, these well-crafted tales show us circumstances that might be our own, and let us see them through the eyes of others. * Sunday Times *
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