“Zaher Alajlani is a compelling, new voice in the short-story realm. A devotee of realism, Alajlani reminds readers at almost every turn that the genre is not dead, nor is it the least bit dated. Alajlani takes his inspiration from such muses as Somerset Maugham, Italo Calvino and Saki- among other, great short-story icons of the 20th century.
Though he is Syrian by birth, Alajlani’s tales deftly conjure-up the ambiance of Athens and Moscow in a powerfully-appealing, ever-natural tapestry. He is especially capable of depicting 'underdog' characters—those largely barren souls clawing desperately to survive fetid urban jungles or squalid psychiatric asylums- with a beauteous compassion. The smallest of incidents are enough to motivate him to plunge deeply into human nature.
His riveting characters, torn by desire, distress and despair, find salvation only through true love. They subjugate lustful instincts in favor of the spiritual, regardless of morals and social class. Alajlani portrays everyday existence in a relentless subdued style, avoiding whatever urges he may harbor to summon-up artistic conventions- those dramatic and imaginative story-telling techniques.
Readers will find the method intriguing or disappointing. This is of no concern to Alajlani whose unswerving fealty is to a truth absent all embellishment.”
(Riad Ismat, 2015)