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[2 Dec 2014 | No Comment | 78 views]

In the spring of 2014, Ahmad Saadawi’s book Frankenstein in Baghdad was awarded the International Prize for Arab Fiction, also known as the Arab Booker. It is a novel of a kind quite different from the ones generally acclaimed by the public or by critics, and from those that have come to me for consideration in the past few years. Whatever its originality or flaws, its being awarded the IPAF could be the sign of an interesting change to come.
 
As I celebrate this fall my tenth year as a literary …

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[2 Dec 2014 | No Comment | 125 views]
Crocodiles, “A Book With Prose Like Water” – Reviewlab on Rakha’s novel

Reviewlab, by Skyler Vanderhoof.
December 2014
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The Crocodiles by prolific Egyptian novelist, reporter, poet, and photographer Youssef Rakha, is, at the very least, ambitious.. Ostensibly this book is about the eponymous Crocodiles, an underground group of guerilla poets formed in Egypt in the 1990’s and active until the early 2000’s. Like Irving Welsh’s Trainspotting, or Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun also Rises, this book isn’t really aboutthe surface material. This is a book about people, about human conditions and relationships.

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[27 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 62 views]
Publishers Weekly Online reviews Rakha’s “Crocodiles”

Publishers Weekly Online
November 2014

Rakha’s dizzying novel, set in Cairo between 1997 and the first days of 2012, disdains narrative arcs and linear chronology, perhaps because its focus is a group of young Egyptians who admire the freewheeling works of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other Beats. The narrator, Youssef, and his friends form “The Crocodiles Movement for Secret Egyptian Poetry”, and spend their youth writing poetry and experimenting with sex, drugs, and booze. Behind them lurks the political unrest of Cairo, and once the Arab Spring reaches Egypt, one uprising …

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