Book Size: 5.25" x 8"

Pages: 400

Format: Hardback & Paperback

ISBN: 9781566569163 HB
ISBN: 9781566569910 PB

Imprint: Interlink Books

Edition: 1

Translator: Paul Starkey

Release date: 11/05/14

Category:

The Book of the Sultan's Seal

Strange Incidents from history in the City of Mars

By

Paperback $ 19.95 | Hardback $ 45.00

“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

About this book

A profoundly original debut from highly acclaimed Egyptian Writer.

Youssef Rakha's extraordinary The Book of the Sultan's Seal was published less than two weeks after then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, following mass protests, in February 2011. It's hard to imagine a debut novel of greater urgency or more thrilling innovation.

Modeled on a medieval Arabic manuscript in the form of a letter addressed to the writer's friend, The Book of the Sultan's Seal is made up of nine chapters, each centered on a drive our hero, Mustafa Çorbacı , takes around greater Cairo in the spring of 2007. Together these create a portrait of Cairo, city of post-9/11 Islam. In a series of dreams and visions, Mustafa Çorbacı, encounters the spirit of the last Ottoman sultan and embarks on a mission the sultan assigns him. Çorbacı, trials shed light on the contemporary Arab Muslim's desperation for a sense of identity: Sultan's Seal is both a suspenseful, erotic, riotous novel and an examination of accounts of Muslim demise. The way to a renaissance, Çorbacı's journeys lead us to see, may have less to do with dogma and jihad than with love poetry, calligraphy, and the cultural diversity and richness within Islam.

With his first novel, Rakha has created a language truly all his own- an achievement that has earned international acclaim. This profoundly original work both retells canonical Arabic classics and offers a new version of "middle Arabic," in which the formal meets the vernacular. Now finally in English, in Paul Starkey's masterful translation, The Book of the Sultan's Seal will astonish new readers around the world.

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About the authors

Youssef Rakha is the author of seven books in Arabic. His fiction, criticism, and journalism have appeared widely, including in the New York Times, McSweeney’s, the Kenyon Review, and the Atlantic. His novel The Crocodiles is also forthcoming in English.

Paul Starkey served as head of the Arabic department at Durham University, UK, and a co-director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, until his recent retirement. His translations include works by Adania Shibli, Mansoura Ez Eldin, and Edwar al-Kharrat.

Reviews

“A chronicle of the decay of the city and a call to arms… the inter-textual references in this thoroughly hybrid text are astonishing… [The Book of the Sultan’s Seal] is an outstanding first novel by an author who has a special ability to deal with modern and classical material, both Arab and western, with equal ease.” – Al-Ahram Weekly

“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

About the Author

Paul Starkey served as head of the Arabic department at Durham University, UK, and a co-director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, until his recent retirement. His translations include works by Adania Shibli, Mansoura Ez Eldin, and Edwar al-Kharrat.

Additional information

Author

Rakha, Youssef

Edition

1

Inprint

Interlink Books

Pages

400

Translator

Starkey , Paul

Release date

11/05/14

Author Home

Egypt

Subtitle

Strange Incidents from history in the City of Mars

Format

5.25" x 8"

Reviews

"A chronicle of the decay of the city and a call to arms" the inter-textual references in this thoroughly hybrid text are astonishing " [The Book of the Sultan's Seal] is an outstanding first novel by an author who has a special ability to deal with modern and classical material , both Arab and western , with equal ease."å – Al-Ahram Weekly "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."å – Amin Maalouf , Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Samarkand

MainReview

"A chronicle of the decay of the city and a call to arms" the inter-textual references in this thoroughly hybrid text are astonishing " [The Book of the Sultan's Seal] is an outstanding first novel by an author who has a special ability to deal with modern and classical material, both Arab and western, with equal ease."å – Al-Ahram Weekly

Cover

Paperback, Hardback