The House of Youssef

By Yumna Kassab
Giramondo


Yumna Kassab

Judges' report


Rarely does a debut writer create a work this consistent in quality, technique and narrative form. The House of Youssef is a stunning collection of short stories exploring the intricacies of migrant life in Australia, and the pressures faced by culturally diverse Australians to balance their identity in a landscape that is constantly shifting when it comes to inclusion and equality.

Kassab uses her sparse and thoughtful prose to bring to life generations of families, and constructs each character with compassion, generosity and detail. Whilst the stories all stand on their own individually, each builds on the next to create a strong collection that shines as a whole. Issues such as gender equality, poverty, racism and family dynamics come together to demonstrate the complexity of the Australian identity.

This collection suggests we have much more to look forward to from Kassab as an emerging talent.

Further reading


Reviews 

‘Kassab’s stories are quietly devastating; her characters rebel in small ways instead of sweeping gestures, but mostly they go about their lives.’ Sonia Nair, Australian Book Review.

‘Each story is extraordinary in its ordinariness; the collection confirms that often it’s through brevity that whole worlds are formed.’ Cher Tan, The Saturday Paper.

‘It might be best to rid the term ‘vignettes’ and start thinking of these tales as they really are – as modern fables.’ Jack Cameron Stanton, The Lifted Brow.

Links

Read ‘Dressing down the words’ by Yumna Kassab in Kill Your Darlings.

Take a peek into Yumna Kassab’s bookshelf with ‘Shelf Reflections’ in Kill Your Darlings.