The Apartment in Bab El-Louk

This book will take you minutes to whip through, but you won’t forget it in a hurry. The doors of the cover open onto a very simple story about a city-centre apartment and the person who lives in it, the sounds through the walls, the neighbours on the street below…

BabElLoukMaherNadyJaquetteOpening

So you might think that this is a young woman too busy to clean up. I started off thinking so, too.  Yet you soon realise there’s plenty to annoy them, and they are pretty suspicious of what’s going on around them. Are their fears grounded? How long have they been shutting themselves up at home, anyway?

BabElLoukMaherNadyJaquetteListening

The could-be-anywhere feeling evaporates as you learn more about the people next door…

BabElLoukMaherNadyJaquetteScreaming

To say anything more would be to spoil the story. I certainly didn’t see the end coming.

This 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 story did not disappoint. It’s no surprise that it won the Kahlil Award for the best Arab graphic novel. Get your hands on it from Darf Publishers now.

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Posted in books, Illustration, translation

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