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Give each group a chapter from Taxi b. Read silently c. Discuss chapter within group d. Determine what aspect of Egyptian culture is illustrated within the chapter Day 2 4. Finish reading and plan presentation Day 3 a.

Each group will summarize their chapter for the class b. Discuss cultural connection c. What surprising views were given by the driver or the author?

Day 4 6. Writing Assignment a. As a group, write a chapter of a similar book about American Taxi drivers. Be sure to focus on personal views about a larger subject b.

Of course, Diwan, and the establishment of similar bookstores, was but one of many factors and actors that contributed to shaping this new landscape.

The Internet—a negative factor if one looks at the illegal downloading practices mentioned before—perhaps as decisively has boosted the sales of many books through online book clubs see Alsayed ; social networks, whether general Facebook or specialized such as Good Reads ; blogs; and forums. Here, it should be recalled that during the last decade, Egypt has been one of the fastest-growing countries in terms of Internet access from , users in December to over 20 millions in March according to Internet World Stats5.

Online promotion has been especially crucial in these developments since the traditional Egyptian media—both press and TV—have remained a very ineffective actor in this respect. By contrast, publishers appear as the poor relative in this new relationship between the Egyptian book and its readers. Huge progress has certainly been made during the last two decades as regards the product itself: While many old publishing houses still stick to the design and shapes that prevailed in the s which gives to many Egyptian books their characteristic antiquated look, the main and most recent actors in the market now produce more attractive books, although editorial standards do not seem to progress at the same pace.

This revamp certainly helped both authors and retailers in conquering new audiences within urban middle-class milieus where reading, especially in Arabic, was not fashionable. However, Egyptian publishers have still to develop effective marketing strategies which appear remarkably absent in this new context where authors, readers, and retailers are the main actors of the book promotion.

Its audience is overwhelmingly young below forty , predominantly female in Egypt as elsewhere, women are more regular readers than men , urban, and educated at the university level.

These young readers are prone to have discovered fiction in the s through the cheap, popular detective series for teenagers written by Nabil Faruq and Ahmad Khalid Tawfiq both authors appear high in the above chart. Maybe the most crucial point in order to understand this phenomenon is that it developed in complete disconnection from any state intervention.

In this respect, it is the clearest indication in the field of written culture of the failure of the cultural policies of the Mubarak regime. At the same time, it is a crucial factor for understanding the world vision of the middle-class, educated youth who were to become one of the most visible, if not decisive, actors of the January revolution. According to a similar stereotype, this same youth had been brainwashed by an educational system that failed to develop its taste for reading, and therefore was irremediably cut off from literature.

Both stereotypes proved wrong but, like all stereotypes, they tell more about those who circulate them than about those they are supposed to characterize.

Taxi Lesson Plan

By tackling these genres, the new writers have innovated, and, at the same time, reactivated a rich national tradition. Both satire and realism are discursive strategies that construct reality and bestow meaning on it by putting the emphasis on its failures and shortcomings, excesses and distortions, in order to provoke laughter and to express a form of social and political criticism.

Such a mix is exceptional: Satirical literature and social realism developed during the twentieth century as two separate, autonomous genres.

Actually, their works diverge much in both form and content. By contrast, Usama Gharib alternates between anecdotes about his life, family, and friends, and half-serious, half-funny thoughts and meditations about God, religion, and the meaning of life.

However, the common denominator among these writers is that they establish an explicit link between their age and their world vision. This is probably the main cause of their appeal to their young peers in a society that makes little room for youth expression and more than often delegitimizes it.

Another reason for their success, which is related to the previous one, is their apparent distance from politics. Although their satire is more social and moral than outwardly political, this self-distancing from direct political critique is in itself a political stance.

But significantly, these same commentators stressed that this award was also a long overdue recognition of satirical literature as a legitimate genre. Just as this new satirical literature revives an old national tradition, the new works of narrative fiction that made it to the bestsellers lists did so mainly by renewing, in different directions, the tradition of realistic fiction.

My purpose is not to discuss the content of these works or to propose a literary analysis of them, but rather to reflect on the reasons behind their success and on the debates they aroused within the Egyptian literary field.

Its original subtitle, Hawadit al-mashawir, summarizes the purpose of the book well: This colloquial expression refers to oral stories hawadit gathered by the author during his journeys mashawir in Cairo taxis.

Al Khamissi was at pains to describe Taxi as a "literary text," one that was entirely his imaginative creation. This seems to include retroactive re-interpretation of his work: Taxi clearly has a sociological goal, but Al Khamissi today insists it should be discussed "from a literary point of view.

Besides this common theme of their second opus, they share other characteristics. Furthermore, both use their literary fame to intervene in the national political debate and to make a plea, abroad, for the new, democratic Egypt they hope for. It is thus fascinating to see how both are now, each in his own way, bound to follow parallel trajectories, to produce and export abroad the same kind of literature and the same kind of intellectual figure.

One can argue that modern Arabic narrative was founded at the turn of the twentieth century by Muwaylihi and his realistic fiction and by Jurji Zaydan — and the historical novel.

From Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas to Umberto Eco and Orhan Pamuk, the historical novel has remained one of the most popular genres in the international literary market. Jurji Zaydan was, in his time, the first modern Arab writer to accede to this international market, being widely translated into Persian, Turkish and—more modestly—German and French.

تاكسي: حواديت المشاوير

However, it is hard to predict whether they will be met abroad with the same success as in Egypt. Compared to satirical literature, realistic fiction, the historical novel, the political thriller, and the detective novel—genres to which Utopia and Vertigo belong—the two works I will deal with now do not have a very rich history in modern Arabic literature.

Whereas Western detective novels in Arabic translation have long been popular with local audiences see Selim , few Egyptian writers have tackled the genre in a consistent way. The other major name in this field is Nabil Faruq b.

Taxi by Khaled Alkhamissi – review

With Mursi and Faruq, we are thus dealing more precisely with the spy novel, which allowed these authors to situate their work within the framework of the national epic. These are two quite different authors and pieces of literature. Ahmad Murad, the youngest of all our writers b. This is all depicted in the novel: Its hero is a young photographer, and it is written as a film scenario in fact, it has recently been adapted into a TV series.

He has produced slick promotional videos of his two novels and has them broadcast by the TV talk shows that invite him—another indication of the transformation of the book into an ordinary good. Tawfiq published in his turn more than titles in various teenager series ranging from science fiction and horror to adventures in Africa and translations from world literature, all of which built up his fame among tens of thousands of young readers, if not within the literary establishment.

Utopia and Vertigo have just been released in English translations by Bloomsbury Qatar Publishing Foundation, a Qatari-British venture launched in , months after the initiation of the International Prize for Arabic Literature IPAF , the other major British-Arab joint venture aiming at putting the Arabic novel on the global map of world literature.

It is noteworthy that these three books carry the same title in their Arabic original as in the English translation, simply because their Arabic names are foreign. While this foreignness is less perceptible for the Arab reader in the case of Taxi, a word so commonly used in Cairo daily life that it has become completely naturalized in Arabic, it is blatant in the case of Utopia and Vertigo.

Khaled al Khamissi was born in Cairo in and studied political science at Cairo University and the Sorbonne. This collection of short stories centres on Hisham, soon to be a professor of surgery, who loses himself in cynicism and criticism of Egyptian culture.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a taxi driver? He treats us to an inside view of the daily struggle to grind out a living on the streets of Cairo: I can hear the voices of this wisdom on the Arab streets.

I found this book very interesting, because it shows the story from an unusual angle.

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Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. Cairo: Dar Merit, ; Vertigo. This list does not pretend to cover exhaustively the actual bestselling books of the last decade in Egypt: As I stated before, the current conditions of publishing in the country make it impossible to compile such a list with minimal accuracy. Each man has a story to tell, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious.