NOTE: Vertigo has been named “best revolution read” of 2011.
Novels, Orhan Pamuk has argued, are fundamentally visual.
Such is the case for the works of photographer-author Ahmed Mourad, one of the few suspense writers in the Arabophone world. Mourad is the author of the bestselling Vertigo, which is set to come out in English from Bloomsbury-Qatar next year, and the newly released Diamond Dust.
Al Masry Al Youm spoke with Ahmed Mourad in his studio. Interviewer Ahmed Ramadan notes that Mourad always has his camera with him to capture the small details that are evident in his writing. Mourad said:
Torab el-Mas [Diamond Dust] was inspired by my visit to the Jewish neighbourhood in Old Cairo. I was roaming the streets and saw all these Jewish Temples and icons; that image later became the base of my novel.
Al Masry Al Youm says that most of the characters in Diamond Dust—which it says is not as enjoyable as Vertigo—are “stereotypical.” Mourad responded:
I don’t have a single character that is ‘new’ to our society. On the contrary, I try my best to bring my characters from real life. The main thing for me is how well-presented these characters are, how well-studied and honest their reactions were written.