Friendly Fire, the first collection of short stories from Alaa Al Aswany, acclaimed author of Chicago and The Yacoubian Building, deftly explores the lives o. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Friendly Fire by Alaa Al Aswany. Friendly Fire. Alaa al Aswany, Author, Humphrey Davies, Translator. Harper Perennial $ (p) ISBN

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Alaa Al Aswany

But the moment Egyptians believe compromise is no longer working, they revolt. Set around a Chicago campus in the present, it draws on two years the author spent at the University of Illinois in the mids, on a scholarship to study dentistry.

And if you don’t like my novel, why do you read it asawny week? Her uncle was minister of education before the revolution that overthrew the monarchy and brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power.

Friendly Fire – UK. Chicagoa novel set in the city in which the author was educatedwas published in January and his Automobile Club of Egypt was published in English in Retrieved 21 November His mother, Zainab, came from an aristocratic family; her uncle was a Pasha and Minister of Education before the Egyptian Revolution of If I compromise, I’ll betray my father.

A practising dentist in Cairo, he had toiled at fiction for a decade but had been rejected on three occasions by the General Egyptian Book Organisation Gebothe powerful state-run publishers, the last time on his 41st birthday. If you’re young and don’t have hope, you’re pushed to be a criminal or a fanatic. Al Frienldy was born in Cairo inan only child. But I do not have control over them.

Interview: Alaa Al Aswany | Books | The Guardian

He reads four languages, including French and Spanish, but decided against emulating the nouveau roman, and was pushed towards realism by an firw with Mahfouz in Alexandria.

Al-Aswany was deeply frustrated by this, as he rejected the idea of normalizing with Israeland accused the IPCRI and the translator of piracy and theft. While Al-Aswany refused for the book to be translated into Hebrew and published in Israela volunteer had translated it and IPCRI wanted to offer aswamy for free to expand cultural awareness and understanding in the region.


When Al Aswany remarried ininto a family of Greek-speaking Egyptians from Alexandria, he told his wife his only dream was to be a novelist. Al-Aswany married his first wife in his early twenties, she was a dentist, and they had their son Seif, they divorced later. It exposes a fre system of patronage in which mediocrity rises and rebellion has grave costs.

Al Aswany in Sometimes I agree with their decisions and opinions, sometimes I disagree. There’s a category of Arabic poetry about homosexual feelings.

His second novel, The Yacoubian Buildingan ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Literature is the opposite, it’s a very individual vision of life. There she was, standing before him, with her petite figure, her beautiful face, and her long black hair that she gathered in a ponytail. The Egyptian novelist Gamal al-Ghitani praised the book as having “enriched the art of the Egyptian novel”, while, for the Lebanese writer and journalist Elias Khoury, it “reinvented the popular Egyptian novel, which had died”.

They were obliged to hear my ideas, ala they couldn’t tolerate my presence. It was made into a hit film in Arabic indirected by Marwan Hamed, and an Egyptian television serial last year. Through them, readers will see everything in their own lives, including social, political and religious topics, but through the art.

This page was last edited on 19 Novemberat I felt that, faced with a certain injustice, anyone could become dangerous, a terrorist, because he had lost the dream of his life.

The stories in Friendly Fire are set in contemporary Egypt, and the characters are generally not very well off though few live in abject or desperate poverty. Giving a picture of people who are not very courageous is a way to push you to do something yourself. It is, however, a solid collection, and in some respects even more revealing about contemporary Egypt than The Yacoubian Building even as it is not quite as enjoyable a reading experience.


Meanwhile, a crackdown on the country’s media independence began last autumn. An early novella, The Papers of Essam Abdel Aatyand asqany short story collections were “printed not published”. What were once luxury apartments in the colonial quarter have seen the flight of the rich since the 70s, and an influx of rooftop squatters gire the countryside.

Retrieved from ” https: I was a child when Egypt was tolerant.

Retrieved 3 January Al Aswany concedes that his success friedly have given him greater freedom as a writer. He said, ‘you must keep writing. Al Aswany creates friendoy microcosm of Egyptian society and the forces that plague it – ruthless profiteering, political corruption and prejudice, police torture, Islamic extremism.

Hosted by Google, 28 OctoberRetrieved 24 May But if you block your contact with the street, you’re in trouble. The consistent bleakness — not horrible misery, but simply a heavy sense that little in this particular world can be improved — can be wearing. Chicago was first a hit serial in Al-Dustour. Most of the characters have accepted the prevailing system — cowering almost naturally before the powers that be — and while Al Aswany describes a few attempts to challenge it, most ultimately fail against the deeply entrenched way things are; several stories end frienddly how the characters resign themselves to the way things are, in a number of different ways.

There are 60, Aswsny detained without charge – many are in prison for more than 10 years – and torture is a daily practice. Al-Aswany was in Tahrir Square each of the 18 days before Mubarak fell from power.

Merit also published Friendly Firea selection of his earlier work, to be published in the UK next year.