Clamor of the Lake: A Modern Arabic Novel
Clamor of the Lake begins with the appearance of an old fisherman of unknown origin sailing a black boat. Taciturn and enigmatic, he takes on a woman and her twin boys. While he gives away nothing about his past, his undemanding companionship prompts the woman to narrate her turbulent life. Meanwhile, in a nearby village by the lake, Gomaa and his wife have found respite from the dreariness of their existence in the fantastic objects the sea churns up during gales‚àö√´a sword, alluring panties, a talisman. But when the waves cast up a chest that speaks in a language no one can comprehend, Gomaa is haunted by its voice. As the tumult of the lake drives a wedge between the couple, it turns two neighbors into close allies: Karawia, a caf‚âàŒ© proprietor, and Afifi, a grocer. Eventually, they too will be haunted by the siren song of the lake.
In Mohamed El-Bisatie‚àö√Øs lyrical novel, the stories of these various figures converge on the mercurial presence of the lake, which in the end proves the narrative‚àö√Øs true hero. An accomplished experiment in the poetics of space, Clamor of the Lake won the 1995 Cairo International Book Fair Award for Best Novel of the Year.
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