by Ahmed Alaidy
A new paperback edition of the eye-opening and refreshingly original debut novel from an emerging Egyptian writer.
"The millennial generation's most celebrated literary achievement." Al-Ahram Weekly "The first glimmer of hope for a true fictional renaissance an instantly rewarding read embraced by an unprecedented range of literary figures" The Daily Star "What is madness?" asks the narrator of Ahmed Alaidy's jittery, funny, and angry novel. Assuring readers that they are about to find out, the narrator takes us on a journey through the insanity of present-day Cairo in and out of minibuses, malls, and crash pads, navigating the city's pinball machine of social life with tolerable efficiency. But lurking under the rocks in his grouchy, chain-smoking, pharmaceutic ally-oriented, twenty-something life are characters like his elusive psychiatrist uncle with a disturbing interest in phobias. And then there's Abbas, the narrator's best friend who surfaces at critical moments to drive our hero into uncontrollably multiplying difficulties. For instance, theres the ticklish situation with the simultaneous blind-dates Abbas has set up for him on different levels of a coffee-shop in a Cairo mall with two girls both called Hind. With friends like Abbas, what paranoiac needs enemies?