Ahmed Naji

Using Life

Der Roman wird von einem Ich-Erzähler, dem Filmer Bassam Baghat, erzählt. Es ist zwanzig Jahre her seit grosse Sandstürme und Erdbeben Kairo zerstört haben. Bassam beschreibt in der Folge, wie es dazu gekommen ist. Als junger Dokumentarfilmer erhielt er von einer ominösen Geheimgesellschaft, The Society of Urbanists, den Auftrag verschiedene Filme zu einzelnen Stadtteilen von Kairo zu drehen. Durch diesen Auftrag kommt er Exponenten dieser Geheimgesellschaft näher und wird Teil des Streites, der innerhalb der Urbanisten entbrannt ist: soll Kairo zerstört werden oder nicht? Bassams Leben ist eng verbunden mit dieser Stadt, die er liebt und hasst zugleich. Die Energie und Kräfte, die es braucht, um in diesem Moloch leben zu können, sind immens und manchmal sieht er wie die eine Seite der Urbanisten keine Hoffnung mehr, die Riesenstadt zu einem lebbaren Ort zu machen. Und dann wieder befindet er sich an Orten zusammen mit Menschen, die ihm Kairo zu einem glücklichen Ort machen.

Illustriert ist dieser Roman mit Zeichnungen von Ayman Al Zorkany.

Der Text ist zwar ein wenig kryptisch, aber gerade in seinen städtischen Szenen und dem ambivalenten Verhältnis gegenüber der Stadt Kairo sehr interessant und lesenswert. cn

Klappentext:

Upon its initial release in Arabic in the fall of 2014, Using Life received acclaim in Egypt and the wider Arab world. But in 2016, Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison after a reader complained that an excerpt published in a literary journal harmed public morality. His imprisonment marks the first time in modern Egypt that an author has been jailed for a work of literature. Writers and literary organizations around the world rallied to support Naji, and he was released in December 2016. His original conviction was overturned in May 2017 and, at the time of printing, he is awaiting retrial and banned from leaving Egypt.

Set in modern-day Cairo, Using Life follows a young filmmaker, Bassam Bahgat, after a secret society hires him to create a series of documentary films about the urban planning and architecture of Cairo. The plot in which Bassam finds himself ensnared unfolds in the novel's unique mix of text and black-and-white illustrations. The Society of Urbanists, Bassam discovers, is responsible for centuries of worldwide conspiracies that have shaped political regimes geographical boundaries, reigning ideologies, and religions. It is responsible for today's Cairo, and for everywhere else, too. Yet its methods are subtle and indirect: it operates primarily through manipulating urban architecture, rather than brute force. As Bassam immerses himself in the Society and its shadowy figures, he finds Cairo on the brink of a planned apocalypse, designed to wipe out the whole city and rebuild anew.

Illustrated by Ayman Al Zorkany

Über die Autorin / über den Autor:

Ahmed Naji is the author of numerous works of creative nonfiction, including a history of the Arabic blogosphere entitled al-Mudawwinat: Min al-Bust ila al-Twit (Blogs: From Post to Tweet). He is also an editor of and contributor to Akhbar al-Adab, Egypts's foremost literary magazine. His first novel, Rogers, has been translated into Italian. After his imprisonment, he was granted the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in recognition of his long struggle in support of freedom of expression. He lives in Cairo.

Ayman Al Zorkany is an illustrator and costume designer in Cairo. In 2009, he left a career in advertising to devote himself to his own work, which has been exhibited at the Egyptian Opera House and the 2012 International Comics Salon in Erlangen, Germany, and featured in several short films and television commercials. The images he designed for Using Life have appeared in special exhibits in Cairo and Alexandria, as well as the 2016 Festival of Mediterranan Literature in Lucera, Italy.

Preis: CHF 32.90
Sprache: Englisch (aus dem Arabischen von Benjamin Koerber)
Art: Broschiertes Buch
Erschienen: 2017 (2014)
Verlag: University of Texas at Austin
ISBN: 978-1-4773-1480-7
Masse: 197 S.

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