Sep 29, 2014

‘The Complex': A Chapter from Mohammed Rabie’s Acclaimed ‘Year of the Dragon’

“The Complex” is a chapter from Mohammed Rabie’s Year of the Dragon, a novel that explores the infuriating, bizarre, and sometimes hilarious underbelly of Egyptian bureaucracy. Rabie was born in 1978, and his first novel Kawkab Anbar (2010, Amber Planet) won first prize in the Sawiris Award’s emerging writers’ category. Year of the Dragon was released in 2012. Translated by Mona Kareem

Na’em arrives at Aisha al-Taymouriya St. in Garden City, walking as he looks at the buildings, searching for their numbers. Within meters, he sees Qasr al-Nil police station on his right. He then looks across and finds building number six. He notices the huge sign atop the building with the name “The Committee of Dilemmas, Obstacles, Troubles, and Glue.”

Na’em hesitates before he enters; he wants to get the task done and return home. But now he needs to focus on the pink death certificate and forget about going home. He needs to arrange his thoughts to get this certificate. His thoughts are interrupted by a ringing voice that asks him what he needs. Na’em looks for the source of this voice.
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