The Crocodiles (Paperback)

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Set in Cairo between 1997 and 2011, "The Crocodiles" is narrated in numbered, prose poem-like paragraphs, set against the backdrop of a burning Tahrir Square, by a man looking back on the magical and explosive period of his life when he and two friends started a secret poetry club amid a time of drugs, messy love affairs, violent sex, clumsy but determined intellectual bravado, and retranslations of the Beat poets. Youssef Rakha's provocative, brutally intelligent novel of growth and change begins with a suicide and ends with a doomed revolution, forcefully capturing thirty years in the life of a living, breathing, daring, burning, and culturally incestuous Cairo.

About the Author

Novelist, poet, reporter, photographer, the multitalented YOUSSEF RAKHA was born in Cairo in 1976. He received a BA in English and Philosophy from Hull University in England and since then has worked as a writer, copy editor and cultural editor-cum-literary critic at "Al-Ahram Weekly," the Cairo-based English-language newspaper. He was also the founding features writer at the Abu Dhabi-based daily the "National." His work has appeared in English in the "Daily Telegraph," the "New York Times," "Parnassus," "Aeon Magazine," "McSweeney's" and the" Kenyon Review," among others. His photographs have been exhibited at the Goethe Institute in Cairo. He is the author of seven books in Arabic, some of which have appeared in German, Polish, Slovak and Italian. Rakha was chosen as one of the best known and loved new voices of modern Arabic literature at the Hay Festival/Beirut World Book Capital competition, Beirut39, in 2009. His essay "In Extremis: Literature and Revolution in Contemporary Cairo (An Oriental Essay in Seven Parts)" appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of the" Kenyon Review." "The Crocodiles" and "Book of the Sultan's Seal" are Rakha's first novels to appear in English.

Praise For…

“What happened in Egypt around its second revolution was a mixture of grandeur and pettiness, of sorrow and mirth, of expectation and despair, of theory and flesh. All of which may be found in The Crocodiles, a novel where reality sheds its veil to reveal its true face — that of a timeless mythology.”—Amin Maalouf, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Samarkand
“Youssef Rakha’s The Crocodiles is a fierce ‘post-despair’ novel about a generation of poets who were too caught up in themselves to witness the 2011 revolution in Egypt. Or is it? With its numbered paragraphs and beautifully surreal imagery, The Crocodiles is also a long poem, an elegiac wail singing the sad music of a collapsing Egypt. Either way, The Crocodiles—suspicious of sincerity, yet sincere in its certainty that poetry accomplishes nothing—will leave you speechless with the hope that meaning may once again return to words.”—Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?
“Youssef Rakha has channeled Allen Ginsberg's ferocity and sexual abandon to bring a secret Cairo poetry society called The Crocodiles to life. He's done something daring and not unlike Bolaño in his transforming the Egyptian revolution into a psychedelic fiction thick with romantic round robins, defiant theorizing and an unafraid reckoning with the darkest corners of the Egyptian mentality.”—Lorraine Adams, author of Harbor

Product Details
ISBN: 9781609805715
ISBN-10: 1609805712
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Pages: 256
Language: English