The Law of Inheritance
Translated by Robin Moger
5 x 8 inches, 112 pp. April 2018
ISBN : 9780857425454
Rs 499.00 (HB)
A man emigrates from his Nubian village to the Cairo of the 1930s where Italisan fascists chase him through the streets and into a Maltese exile. Another man falls into religious esoterism and madness, spinning away from Cairo and back to the wasteland of a village. His son, who is adopted by another family and raised in Cairo, grows up thrice marginalized—as a foster-child, as a Nubian and as one who has had a 'second-rate' education. Meanwhile, university students fight security forces and binge on pills in the dysfunctional remnants of a centralized state . . . Nobody quite belongs in this Egypt, but nor do they belong anywhere else.
Yasser Abdellatif's symphonic four-part novel moves us back and foth across time as the history of a Nubian family spanning twentieth-century Egypt sinks and resurfaces in the autobiographical narrative of a young man in the 1990s. Through the clear sky of Abdellatif's novel, his characters, the spaces they call home and even the nation that contains them all emerge as a murmuration of startings, held together and apart for ever.
Yasser Abdellatif is an award-winning Egyptian poet, short-story writer, screenwriter, and novelist. In 2005, he was awarded the Sawiris Prize for his debut novel Qanoon al-Wiratha (The Law of Inheritance).
Robin Moger is an Arabic translator currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the force behind qisasukhra.wordpress.com, an independent website dedicated to showcasing Arabic literature in translation.