To be published in Overland #208. Spring 2012. An adaptation of a short story called Paper Children by Elizabeth Jolley.


An adaptation of a short story called Paper Children by Elizabeth Jolley, originally published in Overland #89, back in 1982. It is about an Afghan woman, Asal, who is an obstetrician, anticipating meeting her daughter whom she gave away for adoption just as the communist regime of Najibulllah imploded and the country descended into the mujahedeen civil war that resulted in the dystopian regime of the Taliban. The daughter, Kinah, wound up in outback Western Australia, a place barely imaginable to someone who grew up in Kabul and studied medicine in Kiev. In the original story by Jolley, the woman, Clara, was an obstetrician in Vienna, who gave her daughter Lisa, away for adoption just after the Anschluss of 1938. Her husband, being a Jew was in mortal danger, as was Lisa, according to the Nuremberg laws.
This story was intriguing in that the structure was very modernist: shifts in time were not signposted, and multiple first person viewpoints that included the anxious imaginary scenarios of both Clara and Lisa of their first real meeting in more than quarter of a century. This structure was difficult to compress into the 8 pages I had been allotted, so I altered the setting. I also prefer to adapt prose stories to the comics’ medium in a non-literal way – a springboard to something contemporary and relevant. My other stories for Overland in the past two years were the same. See here.


Bruce Mutard
Bruce Mutard