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[8 Mar 2015 | No Comment | 88 views]
Hilary Plum interviews Youssef Rakha in ‘Music and Literature’

Below is an excerpt, read the whole interview here.
(…)
Youssefl Rakha: I go on about this so as to put you in the picture: the nineties, when I started showing my writing to people—that’s when the clash between younger prose poets and older guardians of the poetic ancien régime took place. This is partly of course what The Crocodiles is about. So, when I started writing, I found myself writing prose poems though I thought I wanted to write short stories.

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[2 Dec 2014 | No Comment | 89 views]
Crocodiles, “A Book With Prose Like Water” – Reviewlab on Rakha’s novel

Reviewlab, by Skyler Vanderhoof.
December 2014
Visit their website for the full story!
 
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 | 53 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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[16 Jul 2013 | No Comment | 46 views]
“Egypt Shows How Political Islam Is at Odds With Democracy” – Rakha in the New York Times OpEd

“U.S. Warns Egypt’s Generals Against Jeopardizing ‘Second Chance’ at Democracy.

“The armed forces remained committed to what it considered the legitimacy of the ballot box until this presumed legitimacy moved against its own purpose,” General el-Sisi said. “The Egyptian people were concerned that the tools of the state could be used against them. The armed forces had to make a choice, seeing the danger of deepened polarization.”

The general said that the military had offered Mr. Morsi the option of a referendum on whether he should stay in power, but that the deeply unpopular president had refused.

Painful as it was to see the democratic process interrupted so soon after the revolution that overthrew the longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the military’s action was necessary.”

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[20 Feb 2013 | No Comment | 50 views]
“Thus spoke Che Nawwarah” by Rakha, at The Kenyon Review

“Fear not, gentle spy: I won’t tell you my life story. The important thing is that, like many Egyptians, I’ve spent years pretending to study at a place pretending to be a college that is, in fact, a temple Kafka might have imagined, where priests of social climbing hand out certificates of status to acolytes, granting passage. Totally fucked up. Either you join the mafia of the college-educated or you are cored for life—an apple, yes, to be consumed by the respectable. With the result that standards have been dropping steeply for sixty years, and not just standards of respectability. Like many cyber-activists, who are all dependent on their parents, I attended an expensive private school where I learned my English. Unlike them I’ve always enjoyed reading books in that language, in case you’re wondering how I know things that have nothing to do with either career or country.”