Brush With Fate: Voices From Wales
‘Hart’s Reach’ by Rob Mimpriss, published in Arabic translation in Brush with Fate: Voices from Wales by Hala Salah Eldin Hussein. Contributors included Fflur Dafydd, Tristan Hughes, Nigel Jarrett, Rachel Trezise and others.
At the time of publication, Halah had worked as a translator with Dave Eggers, Nadine Gordimer, Kazuo Ishiguro, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Doris Lessing and others. Brush With Fate, published by Albawtaka Publishing, Cairo, in a limited edition with support from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, was her fourth print anthology.
From ‘Hart’s Reach’
…The surgery had been a watermill in the days when coracles were a common sight, and had housed captured SS officers for a time during the war. Touring Wales in the summer of 1957 Hart’s father had leant his bicycle against its ivyed gable wall, and glancing over the head of his companion had glimpsed the slick descent of an otter down the bank. The details solidified and settled in his mind: the pride of his recent graduation, a falconer launching his kestrel over distant fields, and the quiet fecundity of the river. Years later, as an orphaned and wealthy man, when his memories of that companion had blurred to an impression of white socks and a yellow dress, he had remembered the otter with perfect clarity, and had bought both the mill for his surgery, and the boathouse half a mile upstream on the other bank for his home.
What mattered, Walter Hart later explained to his schoolboy son, was that he had reached that moment when a life becomes clear – not with the girl, though her name was Miller, but with the otter and the kestrel and the ivyed wall: his world needing him, waiting for him to claim it. And Hart was expected to repeat these triumphs, to claim mastery of some girl, some wilderness, but the dying surgery must have been the wrong wilderness, Rita the wrong girl, and in the end his father had resented his willingness to help. He rowed with slow, patient strokes while the gors echoed to the sound of thunder and the hills disappeared behind rain. As he drew parallel with the surgery the man was sitting on the veranda with his map and the woman was trying its locked door, and Hart turned his blunt prow towards the bank and dragged the boat onto land…
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