REVIEW: “Application 39” by Ahmed Masoud

Review of Ahmed Masoud, “Application 39”, in Basma Ghalayini, ed., Palestine+100, (Comma Press, 2019): 117-141 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I said in the review of the anthology that as a whole, the stories are dark and not very hopeful. This is one that bucks the trend — alternating hopeful and hilarious — for the first half of the story, at least. Rayyan and Ismael pull a prank: They submit an application to the International Olympic Committee for the State of Gaza (by now its own independent city-state) to host the summer Olympics in 2048 — only eight years away. What neither of them ever dreamt is that the application would be taken seriously and be successful. For the first four years, planning goes smoothly, even ahead of schedule! But Gaza isn’t without its enemies, and in the final four years before the games, it becomes increasingly clear those enemies won’t let the games go off without a hitch, and both Rayyan and Ismael are caught in the center of it all. By the end of the story, it was no longer very hopeful at all.

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