Being Abbas el Abd
by Alaidy, Ahmed
“What is madness?” asks the narrator of Ahmed Alaidy’s jittery, funny, and angry new novel, Being Abbas el Abd. Assuring readers that they are about to find out, the narrator takes us on his subsequent itinerary through the insanity of present-day Cairo—in and out of minibuses, malls, and crash pads. Sharing the intensity of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club and the hip sensibility of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, Ahmed Alaidy’s work pushes the limits of written Arabic, developing private meanings and personal rhythms that mirror the weft and warp of the narrator’s mind and revel in every linguistic register from ironic high Classical Arabic to the ingenious abuse of the streets via the hip colloquial language of Egypt’s “what-have-I-got-to-lose” generation. A literary sensation in its original Arabic edition, Being Abbas el Abd heralds the arrival of a major new voice in Arabic literature.