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Basma Abdel Aziz

Forfatter af The Queue

5+ Værker 264 Medlemmer 7 Anmeldelser

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Includes the name: Basma Abdel Aziz

Værker af Basma Abdel Aziz

The Queue (2012) 256 eksemplarer, 7 anmeldelser
Here is a Body (2021) 5 eksemplarer
La fila (2018) 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 5 (Apex World of Speculative Fiction) (2018) — Bidragyder — 40 eksemplarer, 9 anmeldelser
Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction (2018) — Bidragyder — 35 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse

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20th century
Cairo, Egypt



Since this is in a generic or abstract Middle Eastern dictatorship, I’ll treat the topic of tyranny and immigration.

Perhaps unsurprisingly if you think about it, this non-American, non-Western (Egyptian) book undercuts some of the certainties and assumptions you might find in America.

First, despite your need to hate the land that produced your alcoholic mother and workaholic father, or as the case may be, we find that there are villains in the world that aren’t American. Like when they tell the doctor that he’ll lose his license if he removes the bullet without the consent of the hidden tyrants. Human malevolence is not always conceived in the belly of the Yankee. But I’m sure your need to hate your parents takes precedence.

The other side of the coin is, although you might feel called by the God of your fathers to defend the neighborhood from the dark faces, there are plenty of foreigners who would benefit by coming here and defiling our racial and religious purity. Like that guy with the bullet still in him that the hidden tyrants stopped the doctor from removing. As wonderful as the world of television is, desirability and civic responsibility aren’t synonymous with one skin tone. (Wouldn’t that be a relief, if it all weren’t so deadly serious?) Not that I would want to offend a European eye.

“What’d they have to come here for?”

…. Near the end, the social drama philosophy/speech: (N.B. “The Gate” is the government, the mysterious non-democratic regime of the unnamed fictional country.)

“Amani was headstrong, a trait he hadn’t often seen in women, while Yehya’s tenacity never abandoned him, and he never lost his faith in his ability to turn a situation to his favor. Yehya would never admit that he was just a single, powerless man in a society where rules and restrictions were stronger than everything else, stronger than the ruler himself, stronger than the Booth and even the Gate.
Nagy had failed to convince them that everything in the world was interconnected, and that their lives were ruled by a network of intricate and powerful relations. Even things that seemed random operated according to this invisible system, even if the connections couldn’t be seen. Yehya laughed whenever they discussed it seriously, teasing him that the philosophy department had corrupted his mind and destroyed his faith in human nature. Amani would laugh, too—she could never be convinced that the independence she believed she possessed was in truth no more than an accepted illusion, part of a web of relations and contradictions. The Gate itself was an integral part of the system, too, even if from the outside it appeared to pull all the strings.”

…. Which implies for me, that in the face of our powerlessness and interconnectedness, mercy is a necessity.

And it has been observed before that often people as individuals suffer the effects of their society’s collective sins, which are then assumed to be somehow the result of their individual conscious choice, even though they aren’t.

…. And, on the other side, there is judgment on the choices we make.

Hidden Dictator/Cleric/Policeman: Should we admit we hurt him, or just let him die?
The Angel: Surely God is aware of what you do.
Hidden Dictator/Cleric/Policeman: I'm pretty sure we run this country, and not you. Who are you, anyway? You’re a deceiver.
The Angel: Surely I speak only the truth.
Hidden Dictator/Cleric/Policeman: Well you’ll be waiting a long time if you expect me to care about reality or common humanity, let alone the message of God’s justice.
The Angel: Wait, then, O hypocrites. We too are waiting.

Of course from a sort of sociological/scientific realism point of view, Islam as it exists now doesn’t come across too well, but I know them to be capable of so much more, than this.
… (mere)
goosecap | 6 andre anmeldelser | Mar 20, 2022 |
I have been reading a few more books by Muslim authors recently but I still can't say that I am well read in that culture. And I still have trouble keeping the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims straight in my head. I am determined to persevere though and that's one of the reasons I picked this book up when I saw a used copy in my favourite bookstore, Whodunit. Then a younger relative highlighted this book as one that had an impact on him so my curiousity was really piqued.

The author is Egyptian but this book is set in some unnamed Middle East country that is governed by a totalitarian regime. The author is a doctor so it perhaps is not surprising that one of the main characters is a physician called Tarek. The other main character is a man named Yehya who was wounded during an uprising against the government; his friends carried him to the hospital Tarek works at and Tarek examined him. Yehya had been shot and the bullet was still lodged in his abdomen but before Tarek could operate to remove the bullet he was reminded by a colleague that he could not remove a bullet until there was written permission from the government. Yehya would have to stand in the Queue before The Gate to obtain this permission. Many other people were standing in the Queue to also ask for various types of permits but The Gate had closed down when the popular uprising (called The Disgraceful Events) occurred and had not reopened. So day after day Yehya, bleeding and in pain, stood in the Queue with many other people. His girlfriend and his best friend tried to support and aid him; his girlfriend even tried to steal the X-Ray taken when Yehya was first examined by Tarek. It is clear that the government is spying on the people and sometimes people disappear. As Yehya gets weaker and weaker Tarek becomes more conflicted about his duty.

As a citizen of a country that accords its people many rights and freedoms it is hard for me to believe this tale but, even though I know it is fiction, I do understand that many people are not so lucky as I am. I think Aziz is exaggerating for effect but so did Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale. And Atwood has said that everything she posited for that book was based upon real occurrences; I suspect the same could be said of The Queue.
… (mere)
gypsysmom | 6 andre anmeldelser | Sep 10, 2020 |
I think this book would have made a better novella than a novel. I quit about half way in. I have a feeling it would have picked up for me had I stuck with it, but I just couldn't - it would have been dutiful reading, and I don't do that any more. Life's too short. If you like Kafka, you will probably like this as well, but I don't and I didn't. Wrong book, wrong reader.
badube | 6 andre anmeldelser | Mar 6, 2019 |
Aziz tells a hauntingly realistic story of an unnamed society where everyday life eventually takes place in a long queue. People are waiting for a gate to open to receive special permits for everything from proof of citizenship in order to obtain permits for other things, to permission for medical treatment. The gate issues orders and fatwas regarding permissible behavior. The country seems to be in an Arab country and the discussion of fatwas indicates it is Muslim.

The intrigue and ethical dilemmas presented in the queue are what make the novel so fascinating. There are those who disagree with the edicts coming from the gate as freedoms contract. But Aziz makes us question how far a human being can go to contradict a government into which she has no input and where the consequences seem dire. Skirmishes develop yet the gate denies they ever occurred. The main character is dying of a bullet wound but the government insists no bullets were fired. People disappear. Will people rise up against the gate? The people had become powerless in a society "where rules and restrictions were stronger than everything else, stronger than the ruler himself,...stronger than even the Gate." Is it even possible for those who challenge the rules and restrictions to be successful when everyone is being watched and outliers are severely punished?

This is a very disarming novel told in rich details that make one appreciate their freedoms. It is a very relevant novel with what is occurring in the world right now.
… (mere)
ErinDenver | 6 andre anmeldelser | Jun 12, 2017 |



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