Fiction in Translation
English edition  
144 pp.
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774166839
For sale worldwide


Wedding Night

An Egyptian Novel Yusuf Abu Rayya
Translated by R. Neil Hewison

Winner of the 2005 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, now in paperback

In a small town in the Nile Delta lives Houda the deaf and mute butcher’s apprentice. Revealing the town’s private stories through public sign language, Houda articulates the unspoken and the forbidden, to unsettle the apparent quietude of rural society. But his own unrestrained desire threatens to scandalize the town and rock its codes of public behavior. When it is reported that he has violated the sanctity of his employer’s own house, the whole town, with the butcher and Shaykh Saadoun, the pretending Sufi, in the lead, rises to avenge itself and publicly humiliate and ridicule Houda. The elaborate ruse planned by the butcher and the shaykh, playing on Houda’ s hopes, dreams, and fantasies, is foolproof—but while Houda may be a dreamer, he is certainly no fool. This original, satiric novel, introducing the reader to every public and private corner in the life of a small town, is both a daring critique of contemporary Egyptian reality and a thoroughly good read, a remarkable novel of sustained carnivalesque suspense and wicked black humor that marks the arrival of a true literary talent.
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Yusuf Abu Rayya (1955–2009) was born in Hihya in the Nile Delta. He wrote seven novels, five short story collections, and nine books for children, and was on the governing board of the Egyptian branch of PEN International. Wedding Night was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2005. R. Neil Hewison is the translator of City of Love and Ashes by Yusuf Idris (AUC Press, 1998), and the author of The Fayoum: History and Guide (AUC Press, 4th ed. 2008).

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"Abu Rayya's talent comes in creating a web of characters that bring the small, sleepy town in the Delta to life."--Aida Nassar, The Daily Star//endoftext//endoftext"Abu-Rayya seems at his accomplished best in this novel . . . He has given his usual theme a vital, almost theatrical edge, investing the narrative with the qualities of good entertainment."--Al-Ahram Weekly

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