Item description for Zaat by Sonallah Ibrahim, Anthony Calderbank, Sun Allah Ibrahim & Anthony Calderbank...
This unusual and much lauded novel tells the story of the life of an Egyptian woman - the eponymous Zaat - during the regimes of three Egyptian presidents: Abdel Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. Imbued with an Egyptian sense of humor and deeply rooted in the culture and politics of the modern period, the novel takes a humorous but often black look at the changes that have occurred in Egypt over the past few decades. Zaat's life experiences and relationships are set against economic and social upheavals in a style that is both sophisticated and bawdy, highly ironic and often extremely poignant.
Zaat's story is interspersed and illustrated with extracts from newspapers of the day - headlines, articles, captions, death notices, advertisements -reflecting events and incidents contemporary with her life. Beautifully put together with bitter and cutting irony, they tell of corruption, financial scandals, torture, foreign debt, and social problems. The heroine epitomizes the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of simple folk tossed about on the stormy sea of modernization, consumerism, and the ever-present mirage of new wealth. Zaat is a brilliant social commentary that provides keen insights into how Egypt has come to be the way it is today.
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Studio: American University in Cairo Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 4.75" Height: 7.5" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Mar 15, 2004
Publisher American University in Cairo Press
ISBN 9774248449 ISBN13 9789774248443
Availability 0 units.
More About Sonallah Ibrahim, Anthony Calderbank, Sun Allah Ibrahim & Anthony Calderbank
Born in Cairo in 1937, Sonallah Ibrahim studied law at Cairo University and was imprisoned in 1959 for his political activities. After his release he spent several years abroad and returned in 1974 to Cairo, where he has lived ever since. In 2004 he was awarded and pointedly declined the Egyptian government s prestigious Novelist of the Year prize.
I read most of Sunallah's novels. I honestly think that he should be given the Nobel Prize for literature. He is not afraid to speak his mind and to criticize the status quo. He is a man of high moral principles. He is also funny and very detailed in his descriptions. He wrote another great book that was set in Berkeley, California. I think it is entitled, Americanlee. All his books are a must read.
A surprise Sep 13, 2007
I did not expect that book to be so interesting. It tells the story of a middle-class Egyptian woman, her job, her relationships, her hopes and dreams. I really liked it and what is innovative is that some capitals have extracts from newspapers which show in a plain way all that is going on in Egypt that time (in the '80s at the beginning of Mubarak's reign). You will be taken aback by the extense of the corruption in the Egyptian society, but this is the target of the book itself. I recommend it!
Excellent Book Feb 16, 2004
I am halfway through the book and I must say that I am enjoying it tremendously. The author describes the life of Zaat, a simple egyptian woman who works in the archives department of a government newspaper. The book would have deserved 5 stars if not for some obvious typos in the text. The editor should have gone through this book at least one more time.
I like the way the author alternates between chapters of excerpts from egyptian newspapers and chapters dealing with the daily life of Zaat. The newspaper excerpts are very effective in conveying the corruption, totalitarian system of government, and apathy towards human and consumer rights in Egypt. The life of Zaat shows the daily concerns of a simple minded egyptian, some sort of egyptian Forrest Gump without the achievements of the latter.
As an aside, I had no idea that Egypt was this corrupt. It is a shame that corruption has permeated this society at every level. I had just finished reading a book about the Congo and Mobutu's reign. It is now obvious to me that foreign aid is a curse when given to totalitarian nations. It keeps unsustainable forms of government thriving as the elite of the regime suck all the foreign aid to their benefit and use that money to distribute favors and stay in power.
I highly recommend this book.
The best you can evre read Nov 1, 2003
If you want to know the modern history of Egptian you must read this book !! it takes you to the social life of the modern egyptian from 70's to end of 80's . and also the effect of the media,poltics and economy on our life. with real headers of newspapers.It is a new way of writing in arabic shockes you about the facts we face in our life and we don't care!!! we just live!!Sonallah lights up we are doing in our life. braeks all the taboo's we belive in !!!IT is amazing book.