Ahmed Naji's Must-Read Literature from Egypt

Writer and activist Ahmed Naji recommends his favorite fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Egypt

by Ahmed Naji

Ahmed Naji's Must-Read Literature from Egypt
Iman Marsel - How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts 
A nonfiction book by one of the most important Arabic poets. She depicts a new version of motherhood through her own experiences as an orphan girl then as a mother who was forced to try the motherhood experience alone in exile. Non-fiction books are rare in Arabic literature in general, and this one is exceptional on many levels.
Naguib Mahfouz - The Harafish
After winning the Nobel Prize, Mahfouz's works were translated into many languages. But still most of the time they focus on his realistic novels, especially in western countries where they study his work as a way of studying society. In this masterpiece, we met with a fantasia, and the essence of the Egyptian imagination. A great novel to read in such days, and very hard to leave after the second page.
Mohamed Rabie - Otared
A modern novel from one of the most talented writers in our generation. It appears to be a futuristic novel, but it reflects the current life in Egypt. A thrilling and smart read although could be very depressing and harsh read for sensitive readers. I would like to call it a visit to the future hell.
Max Rodenbeck - Cairo: The City Victorious 
A lovely book about Cairo written by the one and only Rodenbeck. An American writer who was born and grown in Cairo. In this book, you go deep in 1000 years of history of Cairo mixed with modern stories and how the city was built and effected world history. A delicious read.
Sonallah Ibrahim - Zaat 
A classic novel about a normal women written in a hilarious style from her birth until she walk towards the end. A story of women and story of Egypt from the 70s to 2000.