Mustafa Khalifa © A. Abdelwahab
CANCELLED: Lit.Cologne Spezial: Der literarische Salon mit Mustafa Khalifa
Novels do not cause revolutions - but sometimes they become their beacon because they condense the pain of an entire people into a literary outcry. Mustafa Khalifa spent almost fourteen years in Syrian prisons and was tortured again and again. When he was released in 1994, it took another fourteen years for him to publish his experiences in a meticulous and at the same time highly artistic, as tortuous as it is stirring: a novel, and yet no fiction. Soon "The snail shell" became the "gospel of the Syrian revolution". Chapter by chapter, countless Syrians read the novel on their smartphones so that every piece of text could be deleted immediately. The German translation by Larissa Bender, published in 2019, also conveys the tremendous power of this book, which is in the tradition of prison literature in a row with Alexander Solchenizyn's "Archipel Gulag" or Primo Levi's "Ist das ein Mensch?
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