The Heron

Ibrahim Aslan
Translated byElliott Colla

One long winter night and the Cairo neighborhood of Kit Kat stands at a crossroads. Poised like herons fishing on the banks of the Nile, the character

English edition
15 October 2009
176 pp.
12.5X20cm
ISBN 9789774163074
For sale worldwide

$16.95

One long winter night and the Cairo neighborhood of Kit Kat stands at a crossroads. Poised like herons fishing on the banks of the Nile, the characters of this novel wait and watch as opportunities swim by past their reach. Some gaze on as their local café is stolen before their eyes. One studies how the nouveaux riches of the Open Door Policy make their money, while others try their own hand at swindle. Still others read the empty rhetoric of state-run newspapers and wonder what it all means. It is long past midnight; some walk, some sit and smoke, and all are trading stories. A young artist waits by himself for a girl, a drink, or a revolution. All are waiting for what the next day might bring. Set on the eve of the January 1977 “bread riots” against IMF austerity programs and privatization that nearly brought down President Anwar Sadat, The Heron catches Egypt in the mid-stream of its modern history. Since it first appeared in 1984, Ibrahim Aslan’s The Heron has been a classic of modern Arabic literature. It has been translated into a number of European languages and adapted as the successful film Kit Kat.

Ibrahim Aslan

Ibrahim Aslan was born in Tanta in Egypt’s Nile Delta in 1937 and was culture editor in the Cairo bureau of the London-based daily newspaper al-Hayat. He published his first collection of short stories in 1971. The Heron, his first novel, was published in Arabic in 1983. He is also the author of Nile Sparrows (AUC Press, 2004). Elliott Colla teaches comparative literature at Brown University. His book Conflicted Antiquities is a study of the figures of Egyptian antiquities in European travel writing, museum discourses, and modern Egyptian literature.
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