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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Another New Release for 2014: Nael Eltoukhy's 'Women of Karantina' (Translated by Robin Moger)

Another new release for 2014, this time from Egyptian writer and journalist Nael Eltoukhy. Born in Kuwait in 1978, and moving to Egypt as  a toddler in 1981, Nael Eltoukhy's latest, Women of Karantina, was originally published in Arabic in 2013 by Egyptian publisher Dar Merit. The English translation is by Robin Moger and the book sounds amazing. Here's an interview on Arabic Literature (in English) with Robin Moger and Nael Eltoukhy on Women of Karantina and the synopsis courtesy of AUC Press

A baroque novel of crime and excess in a future Alexandria, from a young Egyptian writer of promise.

Back in the dog days of the early twenty-first century a pair of lovebirds fleeing a murder charge in Cairo pull in to Alexandria's main train station. Fugitives, friendless, their young lives blighted at the root, Ali and Injy set about rebuilding, and from the coastal city's arid soil forge a legend, a kingdom of crime, a revolution: Karantina.

Through three generations of Grand Guignol insanity, Nael Eltoukhy's sly psychopomp of a narrator is our guide not only to the teeming cast of pimps, dealers, psychotics, and half-wits and the increasingly baroque chronicles of their exploits, but also to the moral of his tale. Defiant, revolutionary, and patriotic, are the rapists and thieves of Alexandria's crime families deluded maniacs or is their myth of Karantina - their Alexandria reimagined as the once and future capital - what they believe it to be: the revolutionary dream made brick and mortar, flesh bone?

Subversive and hilarious, deft and scalpel sharp, Eltoukhy's sprawling epic is a masterpiece of modern Egyptian literature. Mahfouz shaken by the tail, a lunatic dream, a future history that is the sanest thing yet written on Egypt's current woes. 

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