New Release: Al Morshid (The Informant)

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 22 Jan 2013

Booker-nominated judge and author El-Achmawi publishes Al Morshid (The Informant) on the changes in Egyptian society after the defeat to Israel in '67 and through the ups and downs on the way to the 2011 revolution

Al Murshid

The Egyptian Lebanese Publishing House is to release a new novel called Al-Morshid(The Guide), by author and Judge Achraf El-Achmawi within the 44th Cairo International Book Fair that opens January 23.

Al-Morshid reviews Egypt's history and it's societal changes from a period immediately after the military defeat by Israel in June 1967 until the latest revolution exploded on 25 January, 2011.

The author highlights the revolution and the transitional period between Egypt’s victory in October 1973, the Intifada on 18 and 19 January 1977 and the assassination of late president Anwar El-Sadat by relating the story of two men from the same village in Upper Egypt.

One of those men is corrupt and a deplorable cheat. He steals ancient antiquities - the inheritance of all Egyptians - and sells it on the black market. The other man is an extremist who exploits religion and falsifies history to gain power.

Both were police criminal informants reporting on their colleagues' crimes.

And they each play their own solo melody of hateful ignobility to achieve their means.

The reader realises how history repeats itself, growing the seeds of revolution and sparking new protests against dictatorial policies that kept cropping up throughout the years as if nothing had changed.

El-Achmawi meticulously monitored this phenomenon and expressed it in his new novel. He succeeded in his deep exploration of the psychology of police informants in order to understand the present. Through this, the reader can anticipate the future, but then realise that we are committing the same mistake - not learning from history’s previous lessons.

Al-Morshid is El-Achmawi’s third novel and fifth book.

The judge wrote a book on the rules of pleadings law in 2006 considered one of the most important law references. In 2011 he wrote his first novel called The Era of Hyenas, on the eve of Egypt's revolution, which proved a great success. It reflects politics in a fictional jungle, where animals are the protagonists.

His second novel Toya released in 2012 relates a love story borne between an Egyptian British doctor and an African lady when he was in Kenya. Morals, good and bad guys, adventures, humour, but also all the predictability that usually come with a fairy tale were evoked through his work. Toya was nominated for the 2013 Booker International Prize for Arab Fiction.

El-Achmawi also wrote a non-fiction documentary book called Legitimate Robberies, which relates the crucial history of illicit trade of Egypt’s antiquities during the last 200 years. This book will be released in English and German in March 2013.

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