"To write about  is to foreground it yet again; not to write about it is to consign oneself to live with the illusion of its insignificance. . . . The way out of this double bind is to do both at the same time: this may explain why the 67 war is invoked in the title of the novel but is almost entirely absent from the preoccupations of the narrative."
"Mariam: A True Story" was written mostly in Egyptian colloquial Arabic, detailing the quiet love between a young Egyptian Christian man and an Egyptian Christian woman turned into a taboo by the society around them.
"Tante Aziza and Nana came over to our house on Naim Street and said that Saad wanted to marry me. We sat around the dinner table, which was a square table in the middle of the living room."
"He was a very intellectual person, very forward thinking, sometimes too forward in his ideas. He did not really mash into the traditional Coptic orthodox conservative life."
"Malleem Al Akbar, with its iconoclastic introduction, is probably one of the most important works of fiction to come out of Egypt in the past century. It had long been out of print, and many people had heard of it, but very few had actually read it."
"He's funny, he's philosophical in a way that is always wonderfully down to earth and adds to the humor. His characters are despicable and lovable with no contradiction. Sometimes just despicable."
To celebrate the translation of this forgotten classic, a few views on the book and on its author.
He asked her whether she’d seen his crocodile. She exhaled angrily.
Her mother’s old saying swung in her head like a pendulum: “Life is an unfortunate mess.”
The screen adaptation of Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's Abu Omar al-Masri -- translated to English by Jonathan Wright and retitled as The Egyptian Assassin -- is now available on Netflix.
This collection, of Youssef Idris's best-known stories, was originally released as part of Heinemann's classic "African Writers Series," which launched in 1957.
"Long ago in the City of Walls, you could see the enormous mountain of dark-blue kohl towering over the city no matter where you stood."