The following is from Ahmed Naji's novel, Using Life. Set in modern-day Cairo, Using Life follows a young filmmaker after a secret society hires him to create a series of documentary films about the urban planning and architecture of the city. Naji is the author of numerous works of creative nonfiction. He is also an editor of and contributor to Akhbar al-Adab, Egypt’s foremost literary magazine. He was granted the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in 2016.
From Using Life. Used with permission of The University of Texas Press. Copyright © 2017 by Ahmed Naji, translated by Benjamin Koerber, illustrations by Ayman Al Zorkany.