“Look at this be-me-ne,” he’d say unfurling a hand-woven striped headscarf, “The El-Dzhamans of Baghdad wore them on their heads. The old El-Dzhaman — by the way, he let me have it for a sky-high price — told me that it once belonged to Queen Be-me-ne from the clan of El-Dzhamans. She strangled her husband with this very headscarf which she wrapped round his neck.”
This story of Be-me-nes and El-Dzhamans is from Teffi’s “The East” and marks the second week in a row that B O D Y’s Sunday European Fiction features a writer with a single name (last week: Balla). So will next week see a third, and if so, who? Bono, Sting? Do they write fiction? Would you want to read it if they do?
Teffi was a Russian writer who, after 1919, lived as an émigré in Paris. She was also a big part of the literary magazine Satiricon (or Satyricon), which will be the focus of Monday’s Afterword column.
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Photo – Teffi during World War I