What’s the Real Nature of Ahmed Naji’s Novel ‘The Use of Life’?

Arabic Literature (in English)

Ahmed Naji’s court date has been set for November 14, at which time he and his attorneys will have to defend his novel-excerpt published in Akhbar al-Adab, which has been accused of defaming Egypt’s “public morals.” What kind of book is Naji’s The Use of Life, which now finds itself at the center of such a court battle? 

Elisabetta Rossi, who translated the novel Arabic into Italian, answers:

By Elisabetta Rossi

Naje's book. Naje’s book.

If we were to attempt to classify Ahmed Naji’s work within a well-defined genre, we would face no small issue: The young author, born in Mansura in September 1985, has distinguished himself on the Egyptian literary scene for his unique experimental writing, where genres and artistic elements converge to shape a hybrid literary product.

Naji started blogging in 2005 at Wassia’ khayalak (Widen your imagination), a free space where he writes about cinema, art, literature, sociology, and human rights. It…

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