Even if some of his characters are just children or adolescents experiencing the world and testing their senses, or university students at a moment of awareness and rejection, you feel as you read the stories of Hussein Gilad in his newly released collection entitled "Eyes of the Drowned" (The Arab Institute for Studies and Publishing) that there is some loss, without realizing We know what exactly has been lost, and that her tales are nothing but a chorus of elegies reeling in a small land of experiences and memories, those that were close and then remote.

The book is the third literary work by the Jordanian poet and storyteller Gilad after his two collections of poetry "The High Is Always Crucified" and "As the Prophets Lose". : Asphalt and Rain”, “Soul: Celestial Being”, “No”, “C: Four Walls and a Door”, “Evening Flies West”, “Autumn and Old Windows” (a story in 6 scenes: mint terraces, lethargy Moving, the dream told him, Nizar alone, old windows, the last of the paintings), the last of which is “Do: And the sea also sleeps.”

The "Eyes of the Drowned" story group is the third literary work by the Jordanian poet and storyteller Hussein Gilad (Al-Jazeera)

From the first page, the writer dedicates his book to his city without mentioning its name. We know from the facts that most of them take place in Irbid, where Gilad continued his university studies, that it is the city that is the subject of the gift.

But the reader may ask himself why the writer guides a city and not a person?

It is as though Adnan Ayoub (one of the characters in the story of Mint al-Mastab) is answering this question:

"Irbid, which once seduced him with the love of cities, and he found himself later involved in the noise of cement and big cities. He did not realize the extent of his attachment to Irbid until he left it, the one that everyone quickly gets acquainted with - or thinks so - but it is difficult to come up with that gratuitousness and flatness, and only those who were formed in it Alleys and streets know what safety their walls are. And they alone know what memory of night cats."

Obsession with times and places

There is a clear obsession with place and time that appears in all the details, starting with the titles of the stories, which either refer to a time (evening and autumn) or to a place (asphalt, the house, and the sea).

Gilead's titles are loaded with meanings, whether in his attempt to "musicize" the past, arrange it in a sequence, and establish a rhythmic logic to remember it, or in the intentional use of language that takes us back to the titles of old romantic books, without withdrawing from the stories themselves.

Adnan Ayoub represents the intellectual and visual artist who lives in a crisis whose magnitude or cause is unknown to anyone. He is the personality whose feelings and thoughts extend beyond the tangible and experimental losses of the individual being and become a sense of cultural decline and longing for the past.

Adnan behaves nervously and objects to everything, at a time when he is living a continuous trial in the manner of Kafka's hero, the difference is that he is the one who drags himself and others into this trial, his friend Nizar and his beloved Jihan, his work and even his homeland, he says, "Perhaps it is the fourth of the impossible for a person to have a homeland." Then he imagines himself climbing a traffic light and shouting "Foolish Athena."

In exchange for that great love for Irbid, there is aversion to Amman, and continuous references to the time that we reach through the names of the places that the writer deliberately mentions to understand the frustration and brokenness that the narrator’s time refers to. Words such as “we meet in the Phoenix” or “the Farouqi” indicate that we are in Oman in the late 1990s after the Gulf War, and after the Oslo agreement, which appears as a background for the event in the story "Heavenly Being".

In the latter, we get to know Hadeel, Reem, and Hossam. It seems that preparations for demonstrations at the university against the agreement lead to the arrest of the student organizers, led by Hossam.

It is true that Hussein Gilad changes the names of the characters, but there is something vaguely suggesting that Hossam is nothing but another image of Adnan, just as Jihan is similar to Lina in "Evening Fly West". In the world of intellectuals in which Gilad tries to present a picture of the complexities and fragility of relations, there seems A man who is always in trouble and a woman who gives up.

Boya and other characters

The large presence of the frustrated and melancholic intellectual character does not prevent a delicate balance with the youthful joy. The discourse of disappointment pervading the group appears not only in the frank expressions of melancholy, not only in the veiled representations of sadness, but also in the adventure of the two Bedouin teenagers Khudair and Saqr in the village of Sidi Waqqas who experiment with alcohol. For the first time, their cherished and stolen experience is not fully completed.

Their shot is wrapped in naughtiness and discovery.

But even these happy characters there is something in the narrator's language that suggests that this rural setting and the longing for a bottle of wine may have been the last real taste of happiness they will know before moving on to adult life.

"Waqas" and the spectra of other villages and rural places such as "Al-Bareha" and "Al-Hosn" show fleeting journeys that the characters utter in a few phrases, as if they were on a journey back to the world of primary sensations and the colors of early childhood.

Indeed, this spirit appears even in the story "Asphalt and Rain", where the child who sells gum wants to enter the university to search its container for food, as well as in the story of "Boya", where the child who wipes shoes dreams of customers in the rich side of the city far from its bottom.

Hussein Gilad does not try to depict these characters as miserable or broken. Rather, he is content with presenting them at their adventurous moment or as a witness to a situation that proves to them the irony of life.

All of Gilead's characters clash between two worlds: childhood and adulthood, adolescence and maturity, poverty and wealth, the intellectual who feels that the world around him is nothing but a group of discordant voices, and those characters close to the intellectual are his friends, acquaintances, and the bell he is accustomed to..etc.

Nostalgic tales

After 15 years of absence from publication, Hussein Gilad comes with his ten stories. They are tales of nostalgia and about him. All of its characters are in a place that now seems far from the past, and they look at us with eyes full of drowning.

Gilad told Al-Jazeera Net that poetry and narration are two rivers that emanate from one source, and speech descends into its creative container according to artistic necessity.

He added, "Narrative or prose writing was not far from me. Although I started as a poet, I was also a prose writer. Perhaps this appears in my non-literary writings and journalistic work. Its poetic appearance is my bias towards the latest poem in the march of Arab poetry, which is the poems of free poetry, then the prose poem." ".

And the owner of the Divan “The High Is Always Crucified” continued that poetry is a delicate and elitist being in its structure and meaning, and it is also jealous, and perhaps this sometimes makes it not room for narration and elongation. The word is an issue, and the intellectual has a social and civilized role.

Regarding his cessation of publication for a period that may be considered a long time, he said that the cessation is a technical matter on the one hand, and a station for meditation on the other hand, and he added, "I went through a stage of intellectual transformations that took me time to review my vision, the angle of my line-up, and my place in this world."

And he added, "But this absolutely does not mean stopping writing. I have manuscripts that monitor those years of embers and ashes, whether in poetry or prose, and this will be reflected in the books that will be issued successively."

It is noteworthy that Hussein Gilad was born in 1970. He is a poet and journalist. He works as editor-in-chief of Al-Jazeera Net. He is a member of the Jordanian Writers Association. He was a member of its administrative board (2004-2005), and he is a member of the Union of Arab Writers and Writers.

In 2006, Hussein Gilad was chosen as the ambassador of Jordanian poetry to the World Poets Movement, a literary organization based in Chile that includes thousands of poets in its membership. He was also chosen by the Hay Festival, in cooperation with UNESCO and the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, among the best 39 young writers in the Arab world. And the Diaspora (Beirut 39 Prize) on the occasion of choosing Beirut as the World Book Capital in 2009.

Among his most prominent literary works are “The High Is Always Crucified” (Poetry, Dar Azmana, Amman, 1999) and “As the Prophets Lose” (Poetry, The Arab Institute for Studies and Publishing, Beirut, 2007).

Gilad also published intellectual and political publications:

– “The Myth and the Gun… The Impact of Globalization on Zionist Political Thought” – 1999

– “The Kurdish Question and the PKK” – 1997

The collection of short stories "The Eyes of the Drowning" is 160 pages long.