In her first book of short stories, Shababeek Zayana (The Windows of Zayana), Omani storyteller Bashaayer Hibras makes her contribution to the literary genre known as the “very short story”.
All of her stories, which take up 69 pages, are published in Nizwa magazine, covering a three-story collection, falling under the genre of short story, according to the traditional classification.
كما سُعدنا بما حققته ماجدات عُمان الشامخات في مجال الأدب والفن "بشرى خلفان @bushrakhalfan، وفاطمة الزعابية @A_f_alzaabi، وخديجة المفرجية @Khadija_ali_1، وبشاير السليمية @BashaayerHibras وسناء الحميدية @sana99510038"، ألف مبروك. pic.twitter.com/s1OggObVdW— ليلى النجار (@laila_alnajjar) October 15, 2022
What is striking about these stories is their deviations through the adoption of varied techniques such as the flash/the thought, the short scene, the dialogue, or the narrative story that switches in a few lines between different times, composed of certain moments to create the timeline of the story.
The collection — which includes elements of fantasy, surprise and sarcasm — does not veer from real world societal problems and appears, for the most part, to be about the human condition as experienced by women and their volatile relationship with men.
This literary trend seems to have taken off in Arabic literature in the past two decades and was inspired by international storytellers such as Ernest Hemingway, which explored this technique decades back.
This style is not limited to novelists. We also see poets expirmenting with the technique — most notably Baudelaire in the 1960s as well as in the reductionist scene — making what was called ‘storyboards’ that employ sudden or instantaneous storytelling, with which we can differentiate between the “short story” and the “very short story.”
القاصة بشاير حبراس السليمية عبر كتابها في سياق القصة القصيرة جدا ويحمل عنوان /شبابيك زيانة/، أرادت أن يتخيل القراء ما يمكن أن تقوله الصورة من حكايات، كما ترجم هذا الإصدار القصصي واقع الكاتبة مع القصة القصيرة جدا.#العمانية#النشرة_الثقافية pic.twitter.com/5tRkwgL4Qt— وكالة الأنباء العمانية (@OmanNewsAgency) December 6, 2021
“Very short story” collections often do not have specific forms or characteristics. In fact, many lack structure altogether. It seems, therefore, to be more like a thought or a flash, an opinion or statement, or even a line of poetry.
In this light, Hibras' works appear to be an attempt to keep the narrative feature in a quick and cursory structural form.