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What might William Burroughs be doing in Tahrir Square at the height of the Egyptian revolution of 2011? Was there really a radical atheist insurgency in New Cairo? Where in extant science fiction do people go when they die? In these Cairo-focused stories written at the height of the Arab Spring, in its wake and its ruins, the reader is led by a colorful cast of characters through a hypnagogic urbanscape pulsating with the spectres of post-political Islam and failed revolution. Whether it is an alien abduction in “Lexi” or a Cairo-centered, futuristic retelling of an Old Testament narrative in the titular story “Emissaries” - the stories here play with notions of contemporary Egyptianness to evoke a human circus of possibility and despair that is undeniably universal at its core.

Emissaries, and other short stories is the first short story collection of Youssef Rakha's work. The short stories within this collection appeared first in the following journals:

The Boy Jihadi (Guernica)

Thus Spoke Che Nawwarah (Kenyon Review Online)

Emissaries (The Puritan)

Nawwah (Miranda Literary Magazine – defunct)

Qaf (Mashallah News)

The Secret History of Atheism (Minor Literatures)

A Father’s Counsel (BULL)

The End Night (Litro)

“Lexi” and “The Trees Are Houses” are published for the first time. “The Trees Are Houses” was written especially for this publication.  

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Youssef Rakha
136.87 MB
January 26, 2023




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