Poor

A Nubian Novel

Idris Ali
Translated byElliott Colla

“This is your last day. Be strong. Don’t hesitate. Cut and run. An exit with no return.” Idris Ali’s confessional novel opens with these words

English edition
220 pp.
12.5X20cm
ISBN 9789774166273
For sale worldwide

11.99

“This is your last day. Be strong. Don’t hesitate. Cut and run. An exit with no return.” Idris Ali’s confessional novel opens with these words, spoken on an unbearably hot August afternoon in downtown Cairo, where the Nubian narrator has just decided, once and for all, to end his life. Delirious and thirsty, he wanders around venting his resentments large and small, his sexual frustrations, and his sense of powerlessness in the face of unremitting injustice. He seeks to expunge his failed life in the Nile: the river that had been the life blood of his country for millennia, and that—with Egypt’s new dam—now drowns Nubia, flinging her dispossessed sons north and south into exile. Many years ago, the narrator was one of those sons, fleeing flood and famine only to arrive in Cairo, penniless and shoeless, in time to see it go up in flames, the old regime overthrown by “the men in tanks.” Poor is the story of a life of hardship, adversity, and emotional starvation. It is also the story of opportunities squandered and hopes traded away for nothing—of a life lived, at times, all too poorly.

Idris Ali

Idris Ali, one of Egypt’s leading Nubian writers, is the author of three short story collections and six novels, including Dongola (AUC Press, 2006). Selftaught in literature, he attended the Religious Institute of al-Azhar and currently lives in Cairo. He passed away in 2010. Elliott Colla teaches comparative literature at Brown University. He is the author of Conflicted Antiquities and the translator of The Heron by Ibrahim Aslan (AUC Press, 2005) and Gold Dust (AUC Press, 2008). He was runner up in the 2009 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Gold Dust.
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