by Rana Asfour
I received the English version of 'Reem' that was sent to me by the author a few weeks ago and I am very thankful. This winsome novella is extremely well structured and beautifully written as well as genuinely gripping so that I was unable to put it down until I had reached the ending. The translation had been undertaken by the author himself which was to a very impressive standard and the plot flowed seamlessly maintaining a consistent tension that kept the story interesting and this reader guessing right up until the end of the last sentence.
This dark novella about a mean black cat and its owner who both gave me the creeps reminded me of the Brothers Grimm Tales that had fascinated and terrified me in equal measure when I had read them as a child, but it also evoked memories of the tales my late father used to regale my siblings and I with as children only to find out later as adults that they had been 'borrowed' from Sheherazade, the heroine of a 'Thousand and One Nights'. To this day, tales that hint at magical realism and the unreal continue to pull me and it's probably why I was glued to this one. The fairytale-style genre of the novella works in its favour ensuring its timelessness. It's one I predict will appeal to young adult readers as well as the older crowd.
Bewitching and irresistibly delightful. Loved it.