We talk about a few new books — ones that provide a welcome escape, and ones that seem particularly daunting — and about how hard it is to write, read, think and imagine the future right now.
Aziz Binebine's Tazmamart, Cellule 10 recently appeared in English as Tazmamart, translated by Lulu Norman. His brother Mahi Binebine's The King's Fool is forthcoming in Ben Faccini's translation in August.
Impostures is al-Hariri's classic Maqamat, many-Englished by Michael Cooperson and available now.
Mazen Kerbaj's coronavirus diaries are online at kerbajdiaries.com.
Alessandro Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi is a classic of Italian literature and recounts a 17th century plague in Milan.
Repression in Egypt continues even with covid-19. Alaa Abdel-Fattah went on a month-long hunger strike, Mada Masr editor Lina Attallah was detained and released on bail, and the latest to be targeted were a couple young (and apolitical) TikTok stars.