The Automobile Club of Egypt
2017 Longlist

The Automobile Club of Egypt

Translated from the original Arabic by Russell Harris
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

In British-occupied Egypt, on the eve of the 1952 revolution, respected landowner Abd el-Aziz Gaafar has fallen on hard times. Bankrupt, he moves his family to Cairo and takes a menial job at the Automobile Club, a luxurious lodge for its European members, where Egyptians appear only as fearful servants. When Abd el-Aziz’s pride gets the better of him and he stands up for himself, he is subjected to a corporal punishment that ultimately kills him-leaving two of his sons obliged to work in the Club.
As the nation teeters on the brink of change, both servants and masters are subsumed by social upheaval, and the Egyptians of the Automobile Club face a choice: to live safely but without dignity as servants, or to risk everything and fight for their rights. Exuberant and powerfully moving, The Automobile Club of Egypt is an essential work of social criticism from one of the Arab world’s greatest literary voices.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Alaa
Al Aswany

Recognized as one of the greatest novelists and master storytellers, Alaa Al Aswany is the recipient of 20 international literary honors and awards. His novels are acclaimed in the field of contemporary literature, selling millions of copies in three dozen languages and adapted into film and theater performances. The Times of London selected Al Alswany among the 50 most important novelists in the last half century. He was named at the 2010 Paris Book Fair one of 30 most remarkable non-French writers.

Al Aswany reached international literary acclaim with his groundbreaking novel The Yacoubian Building. Through the prism of a fashionable downtown Cairo building, he exposes the corrupt deal making and exploitative relationships of power in Mubarak’s Egypt. His most recent published novel The Automobile Club of Egypt tells the story of family, servitude, and the struggle for dignity during a time when decaying monarchy and growing resistance to occupation alters a nation’s destiny.

Recognized as one of the greatest novelists and master storytellers, Alaa Al Aswany is the recipient of 20 international literary honors and awards. His novels are acclaimed in the field of contemporary literature, selling millions of copies in three dozen languages and adapted into film and theater performances. The Times of London selected Al Alswany among the 50 most important novelists in the last half century. He was named at the 2010 Paris Book Fair one of 30 most remarkable non-French writers.

Al Aswany reached international literary acclaim with his groundbreaking novel The Yacoubian Building. Through the prism of a fashionable downtown Cairo building, he exposes the corrupt deal making and exploitative relationships of power in Mubarak’s Egypt. His most recent published novel The Automobile Club of Egypt tells the story of family, servitude, and the struggle for dignity during a time when decaying monarchy and growing resistance to occupation alters a nation’s destiny.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Russell
Harris

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Post-World War 2 Cairo is the setting for murmurings of political change and upheaval. The author writes about a once prosperous landowner whose life has taken a turn for the worse. He finds work as a servant at the Automobile Club, which was the private reserve of former colonials. This 1950s political/social/economic setting is a portent of future dissatisfaction and unrest.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
12/07/2016
Country
Egypt
Original Language
Arabic
Publisher
Alfred A. Knopf
Translator
Russell Harris
Translation
Translated from the original Arabic by Russell Harris

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