Mekkawi Said was born in Cairo in 1955. His first collection of short stories appeared in 1981, and since then he has produced four more. His first novel won the Suad Sabbah Arab Creativity Prize in 1991. Cairo Swan Song, his second novel, was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the 'Arabic Booker') in 2008. Adam Talib, an alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles and the American University in Cairo, is pursuing a doctorate in Arabic literature at Oxford.
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A very good read about Cairo !March 16 2010
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I read this book in Arabic (its original language)..it was the first time for me to read for Mekawy Said , I enjoyed reading it a lot ! & could not let it down until I finished it , in the shadows I had the same feelings after I read (the yakobian building ) by Alaa Alaswany .., but the novel is totally different.
The title is a about the last song performed by a swan before its death .. so we have our narrator & protagonist ; and through observing his chaos ending life ..we see the deformation & collapsing of the contemporary Cairo ..although the events are mainly in downtown .
Through the journey of this unbalanced ..confused (can even called psycho) poet & his surroundings , we can see the political ..cultural ..economical & social life of Cairo .., we see street children , foreigners overlapping (American ..German ..Swiss ..Mexican ..Singaporean..Sudanese..etc) , a weird combination so the result is numerous various interactions!! We see Islamist .. wahabi..Sufi ..etc , strange & different types of women that each of them reflect a strong metaphor in the protagonist's life ..
The novel expresses the shocking deformation of the contemporary Egyptian society in the globalization era with an intelligent & elegant style .. My personal note is that it may be so gloomy with the death as an end , I really wish there was even a tiny light instead , because I believe in hope ,even though I have to confess it was a very symbolic end !