Alaa Al Aswany
A novel and sixteen short stories make up this latest offering by Egypt’s bestselling novelist as he reveals with skill and detachment the minute stitches of pain that hold together an individual, a family, a school classroom, or the relationship between a man and a woman. Can a man so alienated from his society that he regards all its members as no better than microbes wriggling under a microscope survive within it? Can cynical religiosity triumph over human decency? Can a man put the thought of a delicious dish of beans behind him long enough to mourn his father’s death? Alongside these wry questions, other, less mordant perspectives also have their place: an aging cabaret dancer bestows the blessing of a vanished world on her lover’s son; a crippled boy wins subjective victory from objective disaster. In Friendly Fire, readers will find again the vivid, passionate characters of today’s Egypt, clamoring to be heard.