Translated from the Arabic by Robin Moger.
A ferocious and urgent novel of the Arab Spring that begins with a suicide and ends with a doomed revolution, covering sex, violence, metafiction, deception, lost youth, and the last thirty years of a living, breathing, daring, burning, culturally infested Cairo.
This novel is narrated by a man who looks back on the magical and explosive period of his life in which he started a secret poetry club with two friends, doing the things that all young men ought to do: messy drugs, fierce older-woman-activist lovers, violent sex and passive politics, clumsy but determined intellectual bravado, retranslations of the Beat poets (cf. KILL YOUR DARLINGS), growing up into and growing out of the city. One difference between The Crocodiles and any other novel is that it's set in Cairo between 1997 and 2011, against the backdrop of a burning Tahrir Square and a revolution that we know, even then, will fail. Read and you may well weep.
About Youssef Rakha
Born in Cairo in 1976, he earned a BA in English and philosophy from Hull University, England. From 1998 to the present, he has worked as reporter, copy editor and cultural editor-cum-literary critic at Al-Ahram Weekly, the Cairo-based English-language newspaper. He participated in the founding of, and works as a features writer at, the Abu Dhabi-based daily, The National. His work in English is featured in The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times, Aeon Magazine, McSweeney's, and The Kenyon Review, among many other publications. His reportage, travel writing, fiction and poetry--written originally in either Arabic or English--as well as my photography have appeared in numerous publications in Cairo, Beirut, London, Berlin, Italy and the US, as well as on the web. He has exhibited photos at the Goethe Institute, Cairo. He has published seven books in Arabic, with some translated into German, Polish, Slovak and Italian as well as English. Rakha was chosen to be among 39 writers representing the new voices of modern Arabic literature in the Hay Festival/Beirut World Book Capital competition, Beirut39.