“Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky” is a narrative elit piece created by Sharif Ezzat. It is a bilingual piece consisting of an audio of Arabic and texts of English, which reminds me of “High Muck a Muck“, which consists of audios of English and images of Chinese.
The author compares stories to stars in the night sky. By clicking the blue stars, the reader is able to read a specific story. What I find is interesting is that every time I access the piece, the stories are located in different places, which gives a sense of arbitrariness.
The background music is soothing and quiet. There are nine stories in total.
Story one is about the author’s cousin whose palace lies unfinished. This cousin, as described, had been successful ever since he was born. However, his domestic life was ruined because of his wide distributed love for women. The author says that it was love for women that led the cousin to unhappiness but I think it was the betrayal that led him to disaster.
Story two is about the author’s uncle, who perceives life as a test. He quarreled with his wife when she was alive but when she died, he shed tears, saying she was the test of his life, and he has nothing left after her death. At the end of the story, the author asks the reader three questions: “Is this life a test? Is that why we suffer? Or is that how we endure it?” These are philosophical questions. I considered the answers to these questions. Before I answer them, I also want to ask a question: Is life suffering? How can the author assume that “we” all suffer?
Story three is about the author’s sister, who is well educated and successful in the career. She fell in love with a man who hadn’t received much education and had two children. As the sister fought with her parents and finally started to get along well with her lover’s children, their love became bitter. Then she started to study various dimensions of suffering, which correspond to different aspects of happiness. True, the opposite of suffering is happiness.
Story four is about the reasons why the stars respond so slowly. This is a romantic fairy tale, which reflects the growth of a person. When the stars were young, they lived together. As they grew up, they started to have dreams and they needed personal space and adventures. So they started to move away from each other and became lonely. If you replace the “stars” in this story with “children”, “siblings”, “classmates”, you will still find the story meaningful.
Story five is about the author’s love. In this story, the author tells the story how they met and fell in love with each other.
Story six has a strange title, which is “Shall I tell you of my water, which is getting thirsty?” As I click to read it, I find that the author’s water is a she. She’s born free and untamed. Once she’s under control, she loses her beauty. This story is portrayed in a poetic form but I don’t know who “she” is.
Story seven is about a boy who dreams of the world. This is a philosophical and creative poem about eternity. Although “eternity” and “paradise” are constantly mentioned in the poem, it turns out that enjoying everything in life helps one to reach eternity. If you are content and happy with your life, then you’re already living in paradise.
Story eight’s title is “Perhaps I should tell you that the whole world is determined to be my family”. The last two lines reveal the true meaning of this poem: “you” (referring to the author’s child) means the whole world to the author. The author probably wrote this elit piece for his son.
The last story is about the land where people rush to cross. This land was full of rules and privileged people who break the rules. This land is now dying but it’s waiting for rebirth. Perhaps the author is questioning the unfairness of the world and seeks to change it.
Overall, this story collection presents the philosophy of living and being part of the world in a soothing and creative style.