Naima by Hisham Matar in the New Yorker, January 24, 2011
In this short story, Hisham Matear pays the closest attention to the most beautiful details of relationship with others. I love how she describes her moments with her mother and her father- for their warm intimacy and some moments of distance. Writing, she is sharing her sensitive and deeply felt reactions to these touches, calm recitations of nicknames, and moments of silence with the audience.
Often the strength of writing is not in the trajectory but in the small honest observations- and not as a 3rd party observer- but as it is felt.
When she shares it helps me to recount these details in my own family. The murmur of my mother’s voice as I lay over her stomach. Or the gentle kindness that begins in my father’s eyes over the shabbat dinner table towards us and our guests.