Articles tagged with: Youssef Rakha
More literature, Press »
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.
Reviewlab, by Skyler Vanderhoof.
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.
Publishers Weekly Online
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 …
More literature »
“With a grimy towel, another troll is making a show of wiping your windscreen so you’d have to hand over some coins while the traffic stalls. You blow your horn preemptively to tell him you’re not interested. And, as he spits on the tyre, shuffling menacingly before he moves on, you suddenly see how little ‘revolution’ has affected the ugliness that while not necessarily brought about, was definitely uncovered by Sadat.
You see it in the pollution and the garbage, the pointless and hopeless rush, the hawk- and leech-like behaviour of peddlers, the impossibly inconsiderate attitude of drivers to one another, the chaos, the deafening microphones playing bad shaabi and Quran, the ultimate paralysis of motion.
It’s ugliness that Mubarak – busy managing terrorists, then hogging the yield of slow privatisation à la crony capitalism – made no effort to control. But had he done, would it have made much difference?”
More literature »
Of the hundreds of news items that cite your name, Mohammed Hamdan (Abu Hajar) al-Sawarka, none gives your age or personal details. It’s hard to believe you are older than 17. “Abu Hajar” suggests you already have a daughter, named after the wife of the prophet Ibrahim according to Muslim custom. But if that is the case she can’t be more than a few years old; it wouldn’t surprise me if you married right after puberty. Under the circumstances, of course, those who condemn you do not bother to account for your good looks, the mildness of your manner, or the child’s warmth in your smile—an earnestness that makes sincerity irrelevant, so ingenuous is your willingness to die.