Set in the turbulent years before the 1952 revolution that would overthrow King Farouk and bring Gamal Abdel Nasser to power, Stealth — by Sonallah Ibrahim, one of Egypt’s most respected and uncompromising novelists — is a gripping story seen through the eyes of an eleven-year-old boy. A young Egyptian’s coming of age proves halting and uncertain as he fails to outgrow dependence on his aging father and tries to come to terms with the absence of his mother. Through the boy’s memories, fantasies, and blunt observations, we experience his attempts at furtively spying on the world of Egyptian adults. His adventures portray a Cairo full of movie stars, royalty, revolutionaries, and ordinary people trying to survive in the decaying city.
The real drama of Stealth lies not in the unfolding of its plot but in its attempt to reconstruct the everyday life–sights, sounds, and smells–of pre-revolutionary Cairo. Here, Ibrahim’s achievement is Joycean. A world of vanished particulars is brought back to life.
—Robyn Creswell, Harper’s
Ibrahim has continuously re-invented the form and language he uses in his work, while probing deeply into the underlying tensions running through Egyptian society.