Bid Your Love Farewell
This novel takes a behind-the-scenes look at journalism, its first lines setting a tone of black comedy when the hero-narrator is fired for publishing a photo of a leader in a party paper that is smaller than the photo of another leader; the joke is that both leaders have been dead for decades.
At the same time, the novel delves into another hidden world no less paradoxical than that of journalism: the used-clothes market, which is the site of the narrator’s childhood and youth.
The author paints for us two semi-secret underworlds and we watch as journalism is debased while the used-clothes business booms—an irony not lost on the reader. Abd al-Shafi successfully avoids a superficial treatment of the subject, striving to present the two parallel worlds with tight precision.
Wadda’ hawak, by Ashraf Abd al-Shafi, Merit Publishers, 2009, 108 pp.