In a small town in the Nile Delta lives Houda the deaf and mute butcher's apprentice. Revealing the town's private stories through public sign language, Houda articulates the unspoken and the forbidden, to unsettle the apparent quietude of rural society. But his unrestrained desire threatens to scandalize the town and rock its codes of public behavior. This original, satiric novel is a daring critique of contemporary Egyptian reality with carnivalesque suspense and wicked black humor.
Yusuf Abu Rayya, born in Hihya in the Nile Delta in 1955, is the author of six short story collections, five novels, and seven books for children. He has been on the governing board of the Egyptian branch of PEN International since 1995. R. Neil Hewison is the translator of City of Love and Ashes by Yusuf Idris (AUC Press, 1998), and the author of The Fayoum: History and Guide (AUC Press, 3rd ed. 2001).