Alligator and Other Stories

Dima Alzayat

28 May 2020
224 pages


Shortlisted for the 2021 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

Shortlisted for a 2021 James Tait Black Award

Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection 2021

'Sardonic, monstrous, tender' Sunday Times

'Startling . . . profound' Daily Mail

In Alligator and Other Stories, Dima Alzayat captures luminously how it feels to be ‘other’: as a Syrian, as an Arab, as an immigrant, as a woman. Each one of the nine stories collected here is a snapshot of those moments when unusual circumstances suddenly distinguish us from our neighbours, when our difference is thrown into relief.

Here are ‘dangerous’ women transgressing, missing children in 1970s New York, a family who were once Syrian but have now lost their name, and a young woman about to discover the hollowness of the American dream. At its centre lies ‘Alligator’: a remarkable compilation of real and invented sources, which rescues from history the story of a Syrian American couple who were murdered at the hands of the state.

Alzayat explores experiences that are startling and real, delivering an emotional punch that lingers long after reading.

How does it feel to be an alien at home? . . . Sardonic, monstrous, tender, these well-crafted tales show us circumstances that might be our own, and let us see them through the eyes of others.
Dima Alzayat’s startling, often shocking stories have at their heart a profound sense of dislocation . . . Brilliant.
Alligator contains several stories of breathtaking power . . . Start reading now and you can say you were an early fan, because Dima Alzayat combines superb writing with razor-sharp imagination and focuses on social injustice, racial violence, and global immigration.