From Library Journal
The two novellas in this collection are the first English translations of this late Egyptian writer. Imprisoned in the 1960s and then exiled for his left-wing politics, Qasim focused his writing on village life and Sufi Islam. In "Al-Mahdi," he tells of Awadallah, an itinerant umbrella maker and Coptic Christian who becomes the focus of the Islamic Brotherhood's coercive charity. Under their domination, he converts to Islam, but as the town celebrates, he is tortured by guilt and dies. "Good News from the Afterlife" is a more complex work exploring the Islamic rituals of death and judgment. After studying his grandfather's books, a young boy happens on a neighbor's funeral and, through a series of visions, witnesses the man's life, death, and examination by the Angels of Death. Samia Mehrez's comprehensive introduction makes this a good choice for large libraries and special collections.?Paul E. Hutchison, Bellefonte, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Written in 1977 and 1981, the novellas translated in this volume form a compelling unity and testify to the creativeness and vitality of contemporary Arab fiction." -Choice "[T]here's more than Mahfouz in modern Egyptian fiction, and it's good to have Qasim's work among us." -Kirkus Reviews