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The House of Youssef

2020 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

The House of Youssef is a collection of stories that take us deep into the intimate lives of characters who are much more complex than their suburban lives might appear. A woman smokes cigarettes and thinks of her missing sons while trawling through the TV guide. A divorcee shrugs off advice from her family, who tell her to find another man or stay out of the sun to protect her once-pale skin. 

Set primarily among the Lebanese communities of western Sydney, these are stories of longing for things that can’t be articulated and of navigating familial and community relationships that can’t be escaped. Told in the stripped-back and intense style of Carver or Kafka, these stories do not waste a word. Every small gesture packs a punch and each detail carries the weight of a much larger life.