Zayni Barakat Synopsis

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.

Zayni Barakat Press Reviews

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

Book Information

ISBN: 9789774248726
Publication date: 30th September 2004
Author: Gamal Al-Ghitani, Edward W. Said
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 254 pages
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction in translation,

About Gamal Al-Ghitani, Edward W. Said

Gamal al-Ghitani, born in Upper Egypt in 1945, is the author of The Mahfouz Dialogs (AUC Press, 2007), Pyramid Texts (AUC Press, 2007), and The Zafarani Files (AUC Press, 2009). Farouk Abdel Wahab is Ibn Rushd Professorial Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Chicago. His most recent translation is Gamal al-Ghitani's The Zafarani Files (AUC Press, 2009).

More About Gamal Al-Ghitani, Edward W. Said

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