We are excited to share this compilation of Malika Moustadraf’s short stories published during her lifetime. Blood Feast: The Complete Short Stories of Malika Moustadraf will be published on February 8, 2022 by The Feminist Press. The collection was edited and translated by Alice Guthrie and contains 14 stories.
Moustadraf is a feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa. She passed away at 2006 at the age of 37, leaving behind many short stories as well as a semi-autobiographical novel.
The collection is connected through the theme of social inequity, especially regarding women and gender. Each story is a vignette highlighting precarious situations and experiences of North African women in relation to boundaries put in place by society. “Death” presents a family watching TV at dinnertime through the thoughts of the wife and mother trying to balance her judgments about the news reporter, horrific descriptions of war from the news, and the comments from her husband and child. In “Thirty-six” a young girl longs for her absent mother while she witnesses her fathers weekend habits of drinking and sleeping with sex workers. Moustadraf was known for her experimental and uncompromising writing style, and these short story demonstrate her skill. The titular short story “Blood Feast” is one of the few that doesn’t feature a woman as the narrator of the story and highlights the theme of women as scapegoats in patriarchal societies. The narrator, an ailing husband, and his hospital roommate blame women as the sources of their poor health and life circumstances connecting to Moustadraf’s critique of patriarchal society but also of government aid for health facilities.
Being new to Moustadraf’s writing style, I was stunned by some of the graphic and detailed descriptions, which left a lasting impression after finishing each story. Moustadraf’s craft shines in her sharp critique of gendered society, access, government, and the treatment of women.
Read the publisher’s description below.
“Blood Feast is the complete collection of Moustadraf’s published short fiction: haunting, visceral stories by a master of the genre. A teenage girl suffers through a dystopian rite of passage, a man with kidney disease makes desperate attempts to secure treatment, and a mother schemes to ensure her daughter passes a virginity test.
Delighting in vibrant sensory detail and rich slang, Moustadraf takes an unflinching look at the gendered body, social class, illness, double standards, and desire, as lived by a diverse cast of characters. Blood Feast is a sharp provocation to patriarchal power and a celebration of the life and genius of one of Morocco’s preeminent writers.”
If you’re interested in this book, be sure to check our posts next Thursday for a selected excerpt.
Pre-Order Blood Feast: Feminist Press