Until Daybreak

by MohammadShafiq Namdar
Published in 2018

MohammadShafiq Namdar is the founder of Balkh Story House with other novelists from Afghanistan. He was born in 1971 in Khulm of Balkh, Afghanistan. He graduated from Bakhtar High School in 1988 and studied literature at Balkh University for two years. Namdar has published three story collections so far: “Shadow and follower”, “The Blinds” and “Inverted Memories”. He also published a novel called “Until Daybreak” with Amu Publication in Tehran. He also has an unpublished novel and dozens of articles and critiques on other Afghan writers’ novels and fictions in his resume. So far, three films have been made by Afghan filmmakers, based on adaptations of Shafiq Namdar’s stories.
The novella “Until Daybreak” by Mohammad Shafiq Namdar was first published in Kabul (Tak Publication/2017) and then in Tehran (Amu publication/2018). In this novella Namdar focused on a period of time which has not been paid attention to in Afghan stories. Its political and social context is about last years of the communist period and Dr. Najibullah’s government and the beginning of movements in Mazar-e-Sharif. Although we encounter an introvert and isolated character in the story and the main theme is not very social or political, but the narrator deals with important social and political events of the time. Because the same political and social events have affected his life and created this isolation for him. The narrator is a twenty-five-year-old man who has been a student at Balkh University during the last years of Dr. Najibullah’s government.
In the last year of his studying, the government collapses, and a new period begins in Mazar, which is accompanied by the Movements, closure of the university and the departure of the “Sheghnanies” from the dormitory. Also his friends leave one after the other and then he is left all alone at autumn nights. Autumn nights for the narrator are nights of distress and regret that is what makes the story. Autumn nights for me are nights of sleeping and dreaming. “I take a nap at night, then I stay awake until the edge of daybreak” (P. 23)
An excerpt of the book:
What do I do at night until dawn? I drink. I write. I sleep. I listen. I play an instrument. I pee. I smoke. Until early in the morning. it might have been interesting to him. Autumn nights are good excuse to spin long string of fantasies and keep pulling the strings of imagination and keep spinning and spinning. There’s no end. It is like being a magician who pulls a string out of someone’s mouth and spins it and it’s endless. At autumn nights, there is no end for spinning the strings of fantasies with thousand clues.


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