The book is an imaginative evocation of post-2001 Cairo and a secular meditation on the decline of Muslim civilisation; it draws on Ottoman history and the work of the great Cairene historians Ibn Iyas and Al Jabarti.
The other images can be found—in larger size—on Rakha’s site. After all, I didn’t want to borrow too egregiously.
Rakha, who maintains the blog Arabophile, is a Beirut39 laureate, a journalist, a literary critic, and has published short stories, poetry, essays and travel books. However, this is his first novel.