Crime fiction in the Arab world
"Crime fiction is not popular in Arabic literature; in fact a number of Arab writers and scholars do not even consider it a noble genre," the reviewer notes, and both she and the author discuss the problem:
"According to Tawfik, the lack of an organized book industry in the area of general reading has prevented the development of literature in the Arab world. The main function of a book industry is to cater for the needs of the consumer, in this case, the reader, by selecting the works expected to have a broad appeal; its absence means that the writers gradually ignore their readers’ preferences."Tawfik, an Egyptian, tells the reviewer that "Our educational systems make students hate reading. There is a lot of money being spent on culture in the Arab world but it is not designed to take culture to the masses but rather to create cultural bubbles for the elites"
That damning assessment tallies nicely with comments I'd noted here in a comment that in turn discusses comments from various authors of crime fiction set in the Arab world.
The publisher's Web site calls Murder in the Tower of Happiness "A darkly humorous and intricate crime novel from Egypt." Read an excerpt here.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009