As a fourteen-year-old, Nasir was entranced by his father’s gift of a camera, finding in it the means both to possess beauty and to assert himself. Now a hack working for state television, Nasir meets Fatin, an independent woman older than himself who has escaped a suffocating marriage and is secure in taking what she wants from life. An affair begins that quickly pulls Nasir into a whirlwind of incandescent erotic and emotional obsession. In a world of superficiality, materialism, violence, and sexual hysteria seen through the unforgiving lens of his camera, Nasir’s life is in limbo. A yearning for escape and a fear of loneliness propel him into a relationship in which he is at once enraptured and non-committal. The resolution of this volatile mix lies in a violent confrontation between repulsion and desire. Black Magic was awarded the prestigious Sawiris Foundation Prize in Egyptian Literature in 2006.
An Egyptian Novel
As a fourteen-year-old, Nasir was entranced by his father’s gift of a camera, finding in it the means both to possess beauty and to assert himself.
Hamdy el-Gazzar was born in 1970 in Cairo and graduated in philosophy from Cairo University. Since 1990 he has published several short stories and articles in the Arabic press, as well as writing and directing three plays. Black Magic is his first novel. He is presently director of the research department of the Culture TV channel in Cairo. Humphrey Davies is the translator of The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (AUC Press, 2004) and Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury, for which he was awarded the Banipal Prize for Literary Translation. His most recent translation is Pyramid Texts by Gamal al-Ghitani (AUC Press, 2007). He was awarded the 2010 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Yalo by Elias Khoury.
Humphrey Davies is the translator of a number of Arabic novels, including The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (AUC Press, 2004). He has twice been awarded the Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.