Fiction in Translation
English edition  
440 pp.
12.5X20 cm
ISBN 9789774162398
For sale worldwide


The Lodging House

Khairy Shalaby
Translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab

Winner of the 2003 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

A young man’s dreams for a better future as a student in the Teachers’ Institute are shattered after he assaults one of his instructors for discriminating against him. From then on, he begins his descent into the underworld. Penniless, he seeks refuge in Wikalat ‘Atiya, a historic but now completely run-down caravanserai that has become the home of the town’s marginal and underprivileged characters. This award-winning novel takes on epic dimensions as the narrator escorts us on a journey to this underworld, portraying—as he sinks further into its intricate relationships—the many characters that inhabit it. Through a labyrinth of tales, reminiscent of the popular Arab tradition of storytelling, we are introduced to these denizens, whose lives oscillate between the real and the fantastic, the contemporary and the timeless. And while the narrator starts out as a spectator of these characters’ lives, he soon becomes an integral part of the lodging house’s community of rogues.
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Khairy Shalaby, born in Kafr al-Shaykh in Egypt’s Nile Delta in 1938, has written seventy books, including novels, short stories, historical tales, and critical studies. The Lodging House was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2003. He died on 9 September 2011. 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. He died in 2013.

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"The novel's anonymous hero introduces us to an extraordinary crowd of men and women living on the fringes of society. Their lives are created from an astonishing mishmash of real, fantastic, bizarre, and weird elements; their timeless joys, tragedies, and problems are narrated in a maze of tales, reminiscent of the ancient Arab tradition of storytelling."—Arab News

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