Heads Ripe for Plucking

Front Cover
American Univ in Cairo Press, 2008 - Fiction - 166 pages
0 Reviews
An Arab tyrant once infamously declared, 'I see heads that are ripe for plucking.' Mahmoud Al-Wardani's novel turns the statement on its head, using it as a point of departure to delineate a whole history of Arab tyranny and oppression. In Heads Ripe for Plucking, an impaled head seeks solace in narrating to itself stories of others who have sustained a similar fate. Beheadings, both literal and metaphorical - torture, murder, decapitation, brainwashing, losing one's head - are the subject of the six stories that unfold over thethree sections of this novel. The narrative takes us from the most archetypal beheading in Arabo-Islamic history, that of al-Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, via the torture of communists in Nasser's detention camps, the meanderings of a Cairene teenager unwittingly caught in the 'bread riots' of 1977, a crimepassionnel in a family alienated by petrodollars, the remembering of a father killed in the 1991 Gulf War and recovery of his lost manuscript on the eve of the millennium, into a dystopic future where heads are periodically severed to undergo maintenance and reloading of programs. The novel garnered critical acclaim for its experimentation with language and form as much as for its excavation of alternative histories.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
3
Section 3
7
Section 4
14
Section 5
19
Section 6
24
Section 7
36
Section 8
49
Section 12
77
Section 13
83
Section 14
93
Section 15
111
Section 16
119
Section 17
133
Section 18
137
Section 19
144

Section 9
53
Section 10
58
Section 11
68
Section 20
154
Section 21
165
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Mahmoud Al-Wardani was born in Cairo in 1950. He began writing shortly after leaving university and is the author of three volumes of short stories, six novels, and three works of nonfiction. His stories have appeared in translation in English, German, and Italian, and one novel has beenpublished in French. He is currently deputy editor-in-chief of the weekly Cairo newspaper Akhbar al-yawm and editor of the opinion page of the daily al-Badil.

Bibliographic information