Mustafa Khalifa © A. Abdelwahab
Der Literarische Salon mit Mustafa Khalifa
Novels do not bring about 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 before he published his experiences in a meticulous and at the same time highly artistic account that was as agonizing as it was stirring: a novel, and yet not fiction. Soon "The Snail House" 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 force of this book, which stands in the tradition of prison literature in a row with Alexander Solchenizyn's "Archipelago Gulag" or Primo Levi's "Is That a Man?"