I assume that Ian Jack is exaggerating a bit when he speaks of the violent intimacies of European book fairs.
Jack probably has not experienced the intimacies of the Cairo Book Fair—on a Friday, no less—where thousands crowd in to by 1LE tickets, and then crowd into the gates, and then crowd in to see the books.
It is an exhilarating event, full of bargains for the intrepid, and people-watching for everyone else. We came away with a modest number of good deals: I bought several copies of Taxi, in English and Arabic, as gifts for friends. My son got, among other things, an excellent deal on an illustrated Arabic-English “my first dictionary” for kids.
I did not attend any author events. After all, that’s hardly what the Cairo Book Fair is about. I glanced at the author table at the AUC’s Naguib Mahfouz pavilion, but then had to keep moving.
My son Isaac took some of these photos; my husband took the rest. You’ll find a lot more book-fair photos at the Alternative Entertainment blog; from the Arab News Blog a funny piece about the police book exhibit; Bebasata’s round-up of the fair.