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(07/11/2008) The Lazy Ones by Albert Cossery. New York. 1957. New Directions. Translated William Goyen. keywords: Literature Translated Egypt Arabic. 158 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   On the outskirts of an Egyptian city stands a strange house. Its occupants are never seen, except for a servant girl who goes to market for provisions. It is a house drugged with sleep, a house drowned in impenetrable slumber. Then one day an earnest young man comes out into the street, yawning and stretching. At first his eyes can barely endure the light or his ears the noise of human activity. But with resolute determination, he sets out toward his adventure. His name is Serag. This novel, by the young Egyptian author of THE HOUSE OF CERTAIN DEATH, is Serag's story - of the ties that held him in the house of sleep and of the destiny that broke them. For all of its realism - the very feel of the Arab world is in Cossery's pages - THE LAZY ONES is basically a comic novel, but in a vein of humor, extravagant and a little perverse, that is characteristically European.

Albert Cossery was born in Cairo in 1913, the son of middle-class parents. He studied law in Paris before the outbreak of the last war. During the war Cossery served in the Egyptian Merchant Navy. He now lives in Paris, devoting his time completely to literary work. THE LAZY ONES was his 2nd novel; a book of short stories about Egyptian life, Men God Forgot, was published in the United States by George Leite. His novel, THE HOUSE OF CERTAIN DEATH, appeared in the Directions Series in 1949.

 

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