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Laziness in the Fertile Valley

by Albert Cossery

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Cossery's heroes are the descendants of Baudelaire's flâneur, of the Surrealists with their rejection of the sacrosanct work ethic, not to mention the peripatetic Beats or the countercultural 'dropouts' of the 1960s. 

The Nation

A family of proud layabouts star in this comic novel by the Egyptian writer known as “the Voltaire of the Nile”


Laziness in the Fertile Valley

Fiction by Albert Cossery

translated from the French by William Goyen
with a contribution by Henry Miller and Anna Della Subin

Laziness in the Fertile Valley is Albert Cossery’s biting social satire about a father, his three sons, and their uncle — slackers one and all. One brother has been sleeping for almost seven years, waking only to use the bathroom and eat a meal. Another savagely defends the household from women. Serag, the youngest, is the only member of the family interested in getting a job. But even he — try as he might — has a hard time resisting the call of laziness.

Read a section of the afterword by Anna Della Subin at Bookforum.

published November 19th, 2013