Mustafa Çorbacı Escapes Youssef Rakha Novel ‘Sultan’ Seal,’ Resolves to Write Column

In his bimonthly newsletter, Egyptian novelist Youssef Rakha tells us that central Sultan’s Seal character Mustafa Çorbacı has made a somewhat momentous decision:

Rakha writes:

First, that mad newspaperman Mustafa Çorbacı has resolved to write a column. You may be familiar with Çorbacı from a certain, overrated Book of the Sultan’s Seal. In hopeless pursuit of the same meme, he has named his ephemeral effusions “Postmuslim”. Raising vaguely relevant questions only to leave them grossly un-dealt with would not be untypical. But if mildly psychotic speculation on being in Cairo today holds some promise of amusement, do humour the unfortunate lunatic by reading and sharing his 400 words.

In addition to being printed in Al-Ahram Weekly, “Postmuslim“ will appear in this space every Friday starting on July 7.

Rakha’s character writing a newspaper column feels like a wonderful throwback to Muhammad al-Muwaylihi’s turn-of-the-last-century Hadith ‘Isa ibn Hisham, although one suspects Mustafa Çorbacı will find his own very different language.

If you haven’t read Youssef Rakha’s The Sultan’s Seal, you still can do, in the original or in English translation by Paul Starkey.