The second instalment of the Writers Series is an excerpt from the novel “Zamaa El Leil” (Night Thirst) by Sherif Abdel Samad and narrated by the author himself. Hear it here.
‘Night Thirst’ is a novel about a fictitious music band in Cairo at the turn of the previous decade and was published in 2014. The excerpt here is a story within the story being related by one of the characters.
A story within a story, the excerpt is a classic Sufi-inspired tale of a traveller trekking the desert and chances upon an elderly man accompanying a young boy whose mouth is tightly bound shut. Upon enquiring as to why, the traveller eventually bears witness to a beauty too wondrous and terrifying for the world to fathom.
Though the tale recounted here is not the main setting of the novel. According to Abdel Samad, Night Thirst is about “a music band struggling in the underground scene of Cairo, performing in smoky downtown bars while witnessing the political upheaval of the pre-25 January revolution era. It is a novel about music, love, friendship and what it takes to grow into manhood in Cairo.”
The Writers Series comprises a selection of authors who were asked to pick an excerpt to be recorded and produced in collaboration with Dandin. The result is a collection of stories using literary devices that range from the hero’s journey to interior monologue. A series of designs inspired by the source material was created by Castell Lanko.
The first release of the writers series is the short story ‘The Tale of the Dragon and the Elephant‘, written by the late Mahmoud Farag (1982 – 2012). It was originally published in Akhbar Al Adab around the time of the author’s death and is narrated here by novelist Ahmed Naji.