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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In contrast, in Friendly Firewhich includes one nearly hundred-page long novella as well as sixteen stories, the focus in each piece is very narrowly and almost constantly on an individual often the narrator. Al Aswany was born in Cairo inan only child.

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 But the moment Egyptians believe compromise is no longer working, they revolt.

One said he’d never accept that a veiled woman would have a relationship outside marriage. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.

It exposes a pervasive system of patronage in which mediocrity rises and rebellion has grave costs. Eman Taymoor present [1]. Inspired by a real art-deco block in downtown Cairo where the author had his first dental clinic, The Yacoubian Building is set at the time of the Gulf war.

Apart from lawsuits brought against Al Aswany by former residents of the Yacoubian building who claim he used them in his novel, fame has had other downsides. Friendly Fire – UK.

Friendly Fire

He reads four languages, including French and Spanish, but decided against emulating the nouveau roman, and was pushed towards realism by an encounter with Mahfouz in Alexandria. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. It is, however, a solid collection, and in some wl even more revealing about contemporary Egypt than The Yacoubian Building even as it is not quite as enjoyable a reading experience.


The strength of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a fifth of seats in the people’s assembly, allows the government to pose as a bulwark against Islamism. But I do not have control over them.

An exiled dissident is seized by the FBI on charges fabricated by Egyptian intelligence. If you’re young and don’t have hope, asaany pushed to be a criminal or a fanatic.

I keep my own voice. The first edition of The Yacoubian Building sold out within four weeks, and the novel became the Arab world’s No 1 bestseller for five successive years, selling more thancopies in a region where print-runs seldom exceed 3, What’s happening to homosexuals is happening to all Egyptians. But rather than be published abroad, in Lebanon, Al Aswany held out, since imported books are easier to ban.

His second novel, The Yacoubian Buildingan ironic depiction of modern Egyptian ffire, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Why do dirty work in my house if I can do it elsewhere?

Cairo calling

He made one last push. The consistent bleakness — not horrible misery, but simply a heavy sense that little in this particular world can be improved — can be wearing. American detainees are exported to aswaby tortured in Arab dictatorships, and they come back with confessions.

The novel is like a love affair: Al Aswany’s la is generally tighter and more consistent in these smaller, more concentrated efforts — perhaps because he doesn’t have to force bridges between episodes and takes the freedom to only write what needs be written.

If I compromise, I’ll betray my father. 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 showing how the characters resign themselves to the way things are, in a number of different ways.


This is the secret of Egyptian civilisation: Sometimes I agree with their decisions and opinions, sometimes I disagree. Alaa Al Aswany’s first two novels, The Yacoubian Building and Chicagofollow a variety of characters’ stories, alternating between them to weave a larger picture of contemporary Egypt, or the life of Egyptians abroad. Friendly Fire – US. Through characters such as Salah, an Egyptian intellectual in love with a Jewish-American woman, and Shaymaa, a veiled woman who questions the sexual constraints of her upbringing, the novel tackles issues such as extra-marital sex, abortion and antisemitism.

Hosted by Google, 28 OctoberRetrieved 24 May But without democratic rule, even if you’re not corrupt, you lose your vision. Al Aswany’s father, Abbas, was a “self-made man from the south”, a novelist and lawyer who won the state award for literature inand died when Alaa was In a new introduction to Friendly Fire, he takes his rejection by Gebo as a sign of the control exerted by state publishing.

I’m proud that we’ve had young fanatics there; some have become my friends.

Friendly Fire – Alaa Al Aswany

Retrieved 24 May We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. You don’t have the time or concentration to rebel.

Consequently, he complained to the International Publishers Association. I feel a commitment towards these young people, who don’t really have an education.