Yusuf Al-Qaid War in the Land of Egypt

ISBN 13: 9780863561221

War in the Land of Egypt

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9780863561221: War in the Land of Egypt
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This series is designed to bring to North American readers the once-unheard voices of writers who have achieved wide acclaim at home, but are not recognized beyond the borders of their native lands. With special emphasis on women writers, Interlink's Emerging Voices series publishes the best of the world's contemporary literature in translation or original English.

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Review:

Yusuf Al-Qa'id's War in the Land of Egypt was banned in his native country but published to wide acclaim outside of Egypt. The first of his novels to be translated into English, it tells the story of Masri (the only character with a name), a young Egyptian peasant who is sent into the Egyptian army on the eve of the 1973 Yom Kippur war in place of a rich man's son. Al-Qa'id tells his tale from several different perspectives: that of the village headman (the Umda) whose son Masri will replace; the broker who finds Masri; the hapless young man's father; his friend; his commanding officer; and finally, the investigator sent to look into the switch. The one character we do not hear from is Masri.

It soon becomes apparent why this book was banned in Egypt, as Al-Qa'id uses the events surrounding the war to indict the bureaucratic corruption and social inequality rife in his country. Each character represents a different facet of Egyptian society with Masri himself, by virtue of his name (which, in Arabic, translates as "Egyptian"), standing for Everyman. Political this novel doubtless is, but it is also a masterfully crafted piece of fiction and a genuine page-turner as well. --Alix Wilber

About the Author:

Yusuf is one of Egypt's outstanding writers with eleven novels and four short-story collections.

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Al-Qaid, Yusuf
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