Fiction in Translation
English edition  
April  2008
208 pp.
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$16.95
LE100
ISBN 9789774161797
For sale worldwide

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The Golden Chariot

Salwa Bakr
Translated by Dinah Manisty

From the author of The Man from Bashmour

From her cell in a women’s prison, Aziza decides to create a golden chariot to take her to heaven, where her wishes and dreams can be fulfilled. As she muses on who to take with her, she tells the life stories of her fellow prisoners and decides in her heart which ones deserve a free ride to paradise. Aziza’s cruelly frank comments about her friends and their various crimes—including murder, theft, and drug-dealing—weave these tales together into a contemporary Arabian Nights. Salwa Bakr takes a wry and cynical look at how women from widely differing backgrounds, some innocent and some guilty, come together in a single prison ward. Salwa Bakr’s writing depicts life at the grassroots of Egypt’s culture, admiring its resilience in the face of poverty and inequality. With a strong distrust of imported kitsch, western consumerism is contrasted with the indigenous culture. In The Golden Chariot, Salwa Bakr opens a magical door, through which we are able to see the injustices of a society in transition. Beyond these stories of crime, we glimpse the yearning and longing for a better life, and the problems of not being able to realize these dreams by honest means.
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Salwa Bakr was born in Cairo in 1949. She is the author of seven volumes of short stories (including The Wiles of Men, AUC Press, 1997), seven novels (including The Man from Bashmour, AUC Press, 2007), and a play. Her work has been translated into nine languages. Dinah Manisty graduated in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1989 and obtained her Ph.D. in 1993 with a study on the woman’s novel in Egypt. After teaching Arabic–English translation at the University of Tunis, she currently serves as librarian of general collections at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.

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“surprisingly upbeat, funny, and even bawdy(missing inverted commas& full stop)—Lonely Planet

"Radiant with splendid humor."—Farouk Abdul Qader, al-Ghad newspaper

"The naturally painful material becomes a source for humor and . . . the satirical tone throughout the novel turns the sacred into trivial and the abnormal into normal."—Latifa Al-Zayyat, Fusul journal

"A fantastic artistic device to criticize satirically the social, political, and economic contradictions of Egypt."—Etidal Uthman, al-Katiba magazine

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The Man from Bashmour ISBN 9789774161094
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The Wiles of Men and other stories ISBN 9789774243998
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