The Lodging House: A Modern Arabic Novel

The Lodging House: A Modern Arabic Novel

AUC Press

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Khairy Shalaby

A young manÕs dreams for a better future as a student in the TeachersÕ Institute are shattered after he assaults one of his instructors for discriminating against him. From then on, he begins his descent into the underworld. Penniless, he seeks refuge in Wikalat ÔAtiya, a historic but now completely run-down caravanserai that has become the home of the townÕs marginal and underprivileged characters. This award-winning novel takes on epic dimensions as the narrator escorts us on a journey to this underworld, portrayingÑas he sinks further into its intricate relationshipsÑthe many characters that inhabit it. Through a labyrinth of tales, reminiscent of the popular Arab tradition of storytelling, we are introduced to these denizens, whose lives oscillate between the real and the fantastic, the contemporary and the timeless. And while the narrator starts out as a spectator of these charactersÕ lives, he soon becomes an integral part of the lodging houseÕs community of rogues.

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