The Queue

Every day, the queue gets longer. More and more people need documents: proof of citizenship, exemptions, permissions, documents with forms to get the other documents for the other forms. So they come to the Gate, and wait.

They wait in line, all day, every day. A whole industry springs up around the queuers; tea bars, microbus and mobile phone services, even a prayer meeting…

Still, the Gate never opens.

But the only source of justice and redress is behind it.

People give up their jobs to keep their place in the queue. They make friends there, and enemies. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. The only newspaper, The Truth, doesn’t really help clarify the difference. If anything, it muddies the waters further.

One man is queuing to get a permit to get a bullet removed from his gut. But the government says there was no bullet in the first place. After a while, his medical records seem to agree. Someone is updating his files with disturbing regularity…

Will he get the operation to save his life? Will his doctor feel free to help him or not?

With The QueueBasma Abdel Aziz has created a chilling blend of dystopia and reality. As an Egyptian psychiatrist and journalist, she knows what she’s talking about. It is both refreshing and vital to have a woman’s voice describing the political and social realities of this region – instead of yet another media image of a silent veiled woman looking like she’s suffering.

Aziz’s translator, Elisabeth Jacquette, also lived in Cairo for years. Together they have created a gripping story of the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome – slowly, slowly, what should be utterly unacceptable becomes normal, paralysing, until you just don’t know anymore what’s really happening – let alone what you can still do about it.

If you can imagine how that feels, and want to know how the protests ended, you should read this book, now!

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in books, literature, translation
One comment on “The Queue
  1. […] is a fantastic collaboration between a skilled graphic artist, writer and translator. Since The Queue, I’ve had my eye out for more women’s voices translated from Arabic and this Egyptian […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Catalan Children's Books China Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Danish Dari David Hackston Dublin Literary Award English Estonian Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hungarian Iceland Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Irish Gaelic Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Literature Norwegian Old English Olga Tokarczuk Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary Penguin PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Pushkin Press Queer Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Salla Simukka Second World War Short Stories Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson transation Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing YA

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: