Thanks to blogger Salam, I got to know Sugar in Amman, a short-story by Jordanian Amal el Masri. The story, which I thought was very enjoyable and extremely well-written, won first prize at the Toronto Star’s 29th Annual short-story contest.

In addition to the crafty details, I greatly enjoyed the ‘womanly’ observations, which other female writers might shy away from. The story revolves around Jude, a young girl who is getting sugared (the Arab equivalent to waxing) by her mom. As she makes her way towards womanhood, Jude recounts the story of her broken family through flashbacks as her hair is ripped out by her mother to the cheers of her aunt.

Here is one part that I really liked:

I am playing hopscotch by myself on the concrete players that border our plum trees. The plums are crusty purple and oblong. They give me diarrhea, but Mama, who has chronic constipation, eats them by the kilo. She blames the constipation on my father, as she does everything else after he went to London, the dog son of a dog son of a dog who she prays will fall into the Thames.

Click here, read the whole thing and enjoy!