"Alaa Al Aswany is among the best writers in the Middle East today, a suitable heir to the mantle worn by Naguib Mahfouz, his great predecessor." -Jay Parini, "The Guardian" (UK)
From one of Egypt's most acclaimed novelists, here is a vivid chronicle of Egyptian society, with penetrating analysis of all the most urgent issues--economic stagnation, police brutality, poverty, the harassment of women and of the Christian minority, to name a few--that led to the stunning overthrow of the Mubarak government. Al-Aswany addresses himself to all the questions being asked within Egypt and beyond: who will be the next president, and how will he be chosen in a land where heretofore only simpletons, opportunists and stooges involved themselves with elections? What role will the Muslim Brotherhood play? How can democratic reforms be effected among a people used to such contradictions as the religiously observant policeman who commits torture? In a candid and controversial assessment of both the potential and limitations that will determine his country's future, Al-Aswany reveals why the revolt that surprised the world was destined to happen.
" The] star of a new generation of Egyptian novelists." -"The Independent" (UK)
About the Author
ALAA AL ASWANY originally trained as a dentist, and still has his own dental practice in Cairo. He worked for many years in the Yacoubian Building, which gave its name to his debut novel. The Yacoubian Building was longlisted for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006, has sold over one million copies worldwide and was the bestselling novel in the Arab world for over five years. Al Aswany is also the author of Chicago (named by Newsday as the best translated novel of 2006) and Friendly Fire. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages and published in over 100 countries. He speaks Arabic, English, French and Spanish. Al Aswany has received many awards internationally, including the Bashrahil Award for the Arabic novel, the Kafavis Award from Greece, and the Grinzane Cavour Award from Italy, and was recently named by The Times (London) as one of the fifty best authors to have been translated into English over the last fifty years.
Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957. A dentist, whose first office was in the Yacoubian Building, Al Aswany has written prolifically for Egyptian newspapers across the political spectrum on literature, politics, and social issues.