This article is a close reading of Adania Shibli’s Tafṣīl thānawī (Minor Detail), focusing on the novel’s poetic techniques of narrating Palestinian history. This article shows how, in order to break away from the reliance on perpetrators’ testimonies, Shibli creates a repository of unverifiable, seemingly negligible details that ultimately construct the historical event as a continuous phenomenon that lasts until today. Once accessible via present realities, the authoritative archive is rendered unnecessary. Privileging description over action, Tafṣīl thānawī turns minor, tangible details into indispensable pieces of the historical puzzle. This article illuminates why Tafṣīl thānawī does not simply embody the voice of the colonized, but challenges what we deem worth documenting and inserts into the historical discourse the sights, smells, and sounds of undocumented experiences. As such, Shibli provides an alternative method of documenting the past, one that classifies the unarchivable: sensory experiences and a vanishing landscape.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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- Adania Shibli
- colonial archives
- Palestinian history
- Palestinian literature
- sexual violence in Israel/Palestine
- Tafṣīl thānawī (Minor Detail)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory