Arabic Literature
English edition  
Sep  2004
254 pp.
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$16.95
LE75
ISBN 978 977 424 872 6
For sale only in the Middle East

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Zayni Barakat

Gamal al-Ghitani
Translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab
Foreword by Edward W. Said

“In the course of my long travels I have never seen a city so devastated. After a long time I ventured out into the streets. Death, cold and heavy, hung in the air. Walls have no value here, doors have been eliminated. No one is certain that they will see another day.” The Egypt of the Mamluk dynasty witnessed a period of artistic ostentation and social and political upheaval, at the heart of which lay the unsolved question of the ruler’s legitimacy. Now, in 1516, the Mamluk reign is coming to an end with the advance of the invading Ottomans. The numerous narrators, among them a Venetian traveler and several native Muslims, tell the story of the rise to power of the ruthless, enigmatic, and puritanical governor of Cairo, Zayni Barakat ibn Musa, whose control of the corrupt city is effected only through a complicated network of spies and informers.
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Gamal al-Ghitani, born in Upper Egypt in 1945, is the author of The Mahfouz Dialogs (AUC Press, 2007), Pyramid Texts (AUC Press, 2007), and The Zafarani Files (AUC Press, 2009). Farouk Abdel Wahab was Ibn Rushd Professorial Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Chicago. He was the translator of many works of Arabic fiction, including Gamal al-Ghitani’s The Book of Epiphanies (AUC Press, 2012). He won the 2007 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of The Lodging House, by Khairy Shalaby (AUC Press pbk, 2008). He died in 2013.

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Recommended by Lonely Planet "... A gripping, unforgettable work of prose fiction. It displays its author's originality of conception and execution at every step."—Edward Said, in his Foreword to the book "Whether read as a colorful evocation of past times or as a bleak political parable, Zayni Barakat succeeds brilliantly."—Robert Irwin, Times Literary Supplement

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