Food: Pleasure Becoming Guilt

Yasmeen cried because she could not breastfeed our daughter, Sina, on her first day in this world. Sina cried as well. As I was held captive with both of them in the hospital room, I had no idea what should be done. I called for the nurses’ help. A nurse came and offered to help … Continue reading Food: Pleasure Becoming Guilt

Using Life: Instructions for Play – By Ben Koerber

This article was published first at: https://thenewinquiry.com/using-life-instructions-for-play/ – Today marks a “Day of Blogging” for Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji, who is serving two years in prison: guilty of having written the playful, language-rich, genre-crossing novel Using Life, he will be given the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, today, in absentia, in New York City. When Naji was charged … Continue reading Using Life: Instructions for Play – By Ben Koerber

Getting over a Breakup Medication from Ibn Hazm to Antidepressants

In his work, Tawq al-Hamam (The Dove’s Collar), the Andalusian writer, Ibn Hazm, tells the tale of a man he describes as wise, reasonable and sensible—until the day he travelled to Baghdad and stayed in one of its inns. ‘There, he saw the innkeeper’s daughter, fell in love with her, and married her. When they … Continue reading Getting over a Breakup Medication from Ibn Hazm to Antidepressants

The World Cup, Chaos and Corruption

published first time at: versopolis.com Fifa’s most tedious make-believes are the notion of ‘fair play’ and the idea that the World Cup brings nations together in a celebration of football, peace, sport, and the future of childhood. Everyone knows they’re a pack of lies, but we need them: To keep the smiles going, to justify … Continue reading The World Cup, Chaos and Corruption

Sam Sacks on Using Life

Published first on: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-new-fiction-1513970981 In 2015,shortly after Ahmed Naji published his novel “Using Life” (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 196 pages, $21.95), a sexually explicit dystopian fantasy that imagines the destruction of Cairo under a tsunami of sand, an elderly reader wrote the authorities to complain that the book had caused him … Continue reading Sam Sacks on Using Life