Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best of 2008

As for the best book I read in 2008, the answer is simple...

Maryam's Maze (متاهة مريم) By Mansoura Ez El Din: Mansoura Ez El Din's tribute to Gothic literature is nothing less than a marvel. With Egypt's bestseller lists cluttered with repetitive, passive aggressive fiction and non-fiction about Buildings, taxis and problems with the Middle East, here is a book that attempts to do something different and pulls it off in spades.

A harrowing and highly compelling psychological study of a woman's descent into madness, Maryam's Maze uses the Gothic archetypes and imagery as a launching pad and runs with them through a series of vignettes, images and characters that are for the most part unforgettable. Ez El Din's stylish prose, tireless imagination, and penchant for darkly surreal images, make it one of the most surprising and original books to come out of Egypt in a long time. A must read. (Also available in an English-translated edition).

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