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Zayni Barakat [Paperback]

Gamal al-Ghitani
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 18.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2004 American University in Cairo Press
"In the course of my long travels I have never seen a city so devastated. After a long time I ventured out into the streets. Death, cold and heavy, hung in the air. Walls have no value here, doors have been eliminated. No one is certain that they will see another day." The Egypt of the Mamluk dynasty witnessed a period of artistic ostentation and social and political upheaval, at the heart of which lay the unsolved question of the ruler's legitimacy. Now, in 1516, the Mamluk reign is coming to an end with the advance of the invading Ottomans. The numerous narrators, among them a Venetian traveler and several native Muslims, tell the story of the rise to power of the ruthless, enigmatic, and puritanical governor of Cairo, Zayni Barakat ibn Musa, whose control of the corrupt city is effected only through a complicated network of spies and informers.

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Review

"A gripping, unforgettable work of prose fiction. It displays its author's originality of conception and execution at every step." - Edward Said, in his Foreword to the book; "Whether read as a colorful evocation of past times or as a bleak political parable, Zayni Barakat succeeds brilliantly." - Robert Irwin, Times Literary Supplement"

About the Author

Gamal Al-ghitani was born in 1945 and educated in Cairo. He has written 13 novels and 6 collections of short stories. He is currently editor-in-chief of the literary review Akhbar al-adab.

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5.0 out of 5 stars pertinent to our time Feb. 5 2000
Format:Paperback
This book is a written the context of the Mamluk dynasty in Egypt. However many of the attitudes, methods and ideas presented in the book can be found in today's Middle East. The author has an excellent command on the istory of the region and also on the attitudes feelings and emotions of the period he is desciribing through a narrarative account. The book is fiction but it feels too real to be that
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Historical Fiction Aug. 2 2005
By M. Sable - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Zayni Barakat is a historical novel set in Mamluk Egypt. Having lived in Egypt (where I read the novel 11 years ago) and studied Egyptian history, I can say that the work more than accomplishes the primary job of historical fiction--it transports the reader to another time and place, making that time and that place come alive.

However, Zayni Barakat is, like much of Naguib Mahfouz's later work, a pointed commentary on modern Egyptian politics. In particular, it is the story of police surveillance and what it means to live -- and work for -- a police state. Al-Ghitani captures the dis-ease and perversity of the Nasserist police state admirably. The novel thus deserves to be read both as a diversion and as an education in contemporary Arab politics.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pertinent to our time Feb. 5 2000
By Nazir A. Husain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a written the context of the Mamluk dynasty in Egypt. However many of the attitudes, methods and ideas presented in the book can be found in today's Middle East. The author has an excellent command on the istory of the region and also on the attitudes feelings and emotions of the period he is desciribing through a narrarative account. The book is fiction but it feels too real to be that
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