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By Albert Cossery

A pleasant, deeply humorous novel concerning the triumph of the right prankster ― a sublime gentleman pickpocket in Cairo.

His eyes “shine with a glimmer of perpetual amusement”; his sartorial flavor is impeccable; Ossama is “a thief, now not a legitimated thief, equivalent to a minister, banker, or real-estate developer; he's a modest thief.” He understands “that by way of dressing with a similar beauty because the approved robbers of the folks, he may possibly elude the mistrustful gaze of the police,” and so he glides lazily round the cafe´s of Cairo, looking his prey. His state could be a catastrophe, yet he’s a hedonist confident that “nothing in this earth is tragic for an clever man.”

One fats sufferer (“everything approximately him oozed opulence and robbery on a grand scale”) is relieved of his crocodile pockets. In it Ossama unearths not only a pleasant amount of money, but in addition a letter ― a letter from the Ministry of Public Works, removing its ties to the fats guy. A resource of wealthy bribes heretofore, the fats guy is now too scorching to deal with; he’s a fabulously filthy rich real-estate developer, in recent years a lot within the information simply because one in all his affordable structures has simply collapsed, killing 50 tenants. Ossama “by a few divine decree has turn into the repository of a scandal” of epic proportions. And so he makes a decision he needs to act. . . .

one of the books to be valuable by means of the totally singular Albert Cossery, his final, hilarious novel, The colours of Infamy, is a selected jewel.

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Don’t be alarmed,” Karamallah instructed. “We escaped this earthquake — it didn’t do us the distinction of coming via our local. i locate that it lacked tact in admire to us. ” Karamallah’s friendly little speech appeared packed with innuendo to Suleyman, like a shrewdpermanent refutation of the beautiful story he had simply advised. “What? You didn’t learn about it? ” he requested, as though he have been thoroughly surprised by means of his partners’ striking lack of information of one of these terrifying little bit of information. “True, Nasr urban is way adequate away that one doesn’t regularly comprehend what is going on there. after which, the govt. requested the newspapers to not exhibit the incident so the folks wouldn’t know about it. yet i assumed males of your schooling should have heard in regards to the catastrophe in a single of these cynical highbrow circles consistently searching for scandal. ” “No,” stated Karamallah. “As you will see, even individuals with our schooling weren't conscious of it. but you've warmed our hearts. My neighbors and that i are satisfied to profit that the genuine reason for the building’s cave in used to be a normal catastrophe and had not anything to do with defective building fabrics. The martyrs sacrificed underneath the ruins have merely cantankerous nature responsible. ” “On my honor, it’s the apparent truth,” Suleyman guaranteed them. “In truth it used to be proven by means of specialists I introduced in from out of the country to rule out any accusation of fraud. They tested every bit of rubble, analyzed the air round the website, and concluded that it had certainly been an earthquake. these scientists fee sufficient for me to set nice shop through their end. ” “I’ve noticed,” stated Ossama, “that earthquakes consistently take place within the poorest areas of the realm. One has to wonder whether nature doesn’t despise the bad. ” “It in basic terms proves that nature behaves as basely towards the negative as males do,” stated Karamallah. “But those frivolous principles won’t curiosity our eminent visitor in the slightest degree. ” it'd be an underestimation to assert that Karamallah used to be delighted with this assembly he had prepared within the wish of studying anything new approximately ignominy in all its glory. He used to be choking with admiration for the creative cynicism of the fellow together with his persecuted house development. The stroke of notion — a selective earthquake that had exact his development! — deserved to be famous as the most important growth within the lengthy background of human abjection. Karamallah purely feared now not with the ability to regulate his sarcastic feedback, thereby frustrating Suleyman, who might then positioned an finish to this ceremonial dinner for the brain. As continuously while he appealed to his honor, Suleyman inspiration he had fooled Karamallah and his pals, and he checked out them with the smugness of somebody confirmed blameless by means of international specialists. used to be it scorn or his whole lack of information of people’s skill to work out via his lies that assured his ideal serenity? not anyone had pointed out the letter, and he didn't comprehend the silence that surrounded the topic as though it have been a few shady enterprise. He didn’t be aware of that Ossama — following the directions of the grasp — was once to broach the problem as past due as attainable for you to make the excitement final.

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