This listicle first appeared on BookWitty, accompanying a review of The City Always Wins. If you object to the listicle overlooking Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue, yes, yes, it’s mentioned in the review, as main characters in both carry state bullets:
For those interested in scholarship, there are any number of books that can accompany The City Always Wins. Certainly the Eric Hobsbawm that Khalil quotes (The Age of Revolution) will be a solid companion. Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s letters from prison also give important context and theory; a recent one from April has been translated by Nariman Youssef. Their journalism, as mentioned in The City Always Wins’ acknowledgements, is an important source of information about Egypt.
Many excellent novels about contemporary Egypt are not yet available in English translation. For those who read Arabic, both Ezzedine Choukri Fishere’s Bab al-Khorouj and his 2016 novel, Kol Hasa al-Haraa should be urgently added to the nightstand.
Five for Anglophone readers are: