This collection of fourteen connected stories and a novella, "From the Secret History of Numan Abdel Hafez", takes us deep into Upper Egypt and the village of Dayrut al-Sharif. To depict a world renowned for its poverty, ignorance, vendettas, and implacable code of honor, Mohamed Mustagab deploys the black humor and Swiftian sarcasm of the insider who knows his society only too well.
Mohamed Mustagab (1938-2006), born in the Upper Egyptian town of Dayrut, was general director of the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo, and wrote prolifically in the latter half of the twentieth century, receiving numerous prizes. From the Secret Life of Numan Abdel Hafez was chosen as one of the top hundred novels from the Arab world in the last century. Humphrey Davies is the translator of a number of Arabic novels, including The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (AUC Press, 2004). He has twice been awarded the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.