The Committee

Sonallah Ibrahim
Translated byMary St. Germain
Charlene Constable
Afterword byRoger Allen

Sonallah Ibrahim has been called the Egyptian Kafka. And no wonder: this wry tale revolves around its narrator’s attempts to petition successfully t

English edition
174 pp.
12.5X20cm
ISBN 9789774247163
For sale only in the Middle East

$15.95

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Sonallah Ibrahim has been called the Egyptian Kafka. And no wonder: this wry tale revolves around its narrator’s attempts to petition successfully the elusive “Committee.” Consequences for his actions range from the absurd to the hideous. In Kafkaesque fashion—an intriguingly symbolic and minimalist style—Ibrahim offers an unbroken first-person narrative rendered in brief, crisp prose framed by a conspicuous absence of vivid imagery. Furthermore, the petitioner is a man without identity. The ideal antihero, he remains unnamed throughout the intricate plot, with a locale suggestive of 1970s Cairo. The Committee, first published in Arabic in 1981, sardonically pierces the inflammatory terrain between ordinary men, unbridled displays of power, and other broader concerns of the author’s native Egypt. The novel’s corrosive, shocking conclusion catapults satiric surrealism into a new realm.

Sonallah Ibrahim

Sonallah Ibrahim was born in 1937. After studying law and drama at Cairo University, he became a journalist in Cairo until his arrest and imprisonment in 1959. Upon his release in 1964, he briefly returned to journalism in Egypt before moving to Berlin and Moscow. He returned to Egypt in 1976 and since then has dedicated all his time to writing. He received the Oweiss Prize in 1993. Zaat was first published in Arabic in 1992. His latest novel, Amrikanli, was published in Arabic in 2003. Anthony Calderbank lived in Cairo for many years and has had a long interest in Arabic language and literature. He currently works in Saudi Arabia.
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