Muhammad Aladdin

Season of Migration to Arkadia

Short Story

This short story about the every-day life of working class people in Cairo is the title story from the short collection Season of Migration to Arkadia by the Egyptian writer Muhammad Aladdin. It is regarded as one of the five best literary works about the Egyptian revolution.

Translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies


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about 40 pages on the smartphone

ISBN 978-3-944543-94-9

about 40 pages on the smartphone

11 October 2019

„Six Egyptian writers you don’t know but you should.“
The Millions

„One of the best short stories about the initial 18 days.“
Arab Lit

Summary: Cairo

Hamzah, a car mechanic in Cairo, sets his eyes on a beautiful leather jacket. In the turmoil of the demonstrations around Tahrir Square, he goes onto a quest into the big shopping mall Arkadia.

Read this interview with Muhammad Aladdin about his work on Arab Lit.

When Hamzah went to the café in the evening, there were wide-spread rumours that some of the young people of the area had been arrested in the demonstrations that had made their way through the lanes and alleys the day before, even though the only connection between some of them and the events was that bad luck had placed them in the path of the battle. It was known where some of these were being kept, but others had disappeared, never to return. Hamzah listened to everything, puffing smoke from his nostrils and giving deep thought to the new price he would charge to repair the new arrogant customer’s car and wondering seriously whether he shouldn’t set the money aside as a start towards the purchase of the beloved Roumani jacket.

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The Author, the Translator

Muhammad Aladdin is a noted Egyptian novelist and was born in Cairo in 1979. He was chosen as one of the most important Egyptian writers in the new millennium by the Egyptian weekly Akhbar Al-Adab (News of Literature) in 2011, and as one of the “Six Egyptian writers you don’t know but you should“ by The Millions. He has written several novels and collections of fiction; among the noted work his first novel The Gospel According to Adam, The Idol, A Well-trained Stray, Season of Migration to Arkadia (The 2017’s Sawiris Prize), and his latest Al Al’araaf. He has contributed to several publications like the Lebanese An Nahar and MTV’s Rebel Music. He lives in between Cairo and Berlin dedicating his full time for writing. He was kidnapped by Sisi’s regime in 2019 for political reasons and has been released after 8 days without facing any charges.

Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of more than twenty works of modern Arabic literature, among them five of the novels of Elias Khoury. He has also edited and translated older works, including Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s seminal mid-nineteenth-century Leg Over Leg (Library of Arabic Literature, NYU Press, 2013-2014). He lives in Cairo.