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The Queue

The Queue

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"Set against the backdrop of a failed political uprising, The Queue is a chilling debut that evokes Orwellian dystopia, Kafkaesque surrealism, and a very real vision of life after the Arab Spring. In a surreal, but familiar, vision of modern day Egypt, a centralized authority known as 'the Gate' has risen to power in the aftermath of the 'Disgraceful Events, ' a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate in order to take care of even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the Gate never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer. Citizens from all walks of life mix and wait in the sun: a revolutionary journalist, a sheikh, a poor woman concerned for her daughter's health, and even the brother of a security officer killed in clashes with protestors. Among them is Yehia, a man who was shot during the Events and is waiting for permission from the Gate to remove a bullet that remains lodged in his pelvis. Yehia's health steadily declines, yet at every turn, officials refuse to assist him, actively denying the very existence of the bullet. Ultimately it is Tarek, the principled doctor tending to Yehia's case, who must decide whether to follow protocol as he has always done, or to disobey the law and risk his career to operate on Yehia and save his life. Written with dark, subtle humor, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Brooklyn : Melville House, [2016]
ISBN: 9781612195162
Characteristics: 217 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Jaquette, Elisabeth - Translator
Alternative Title (Original Script): الطابور


From Library Staff

A chilling dystopia set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country that evokes the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Residents of an unnamed Middle East city stand in queue for a government office that never opens in this timely critique of authoritarianism by an Egyptian psychiatrist and activist.

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Sep 29, 2020

A fictional but very real feeling novel set in post Arab Spring Egypt. Chilling and detailed look at how authoritarian governments work and grind people down, sometimes by deliberately not working, sometimes with aggression, sometimes with subterfuge, sometimes with religion.
Recommended right now.

Apr 08, 2018

This novel is a critique of authoritarian regimes, Orwellian bureaucracy and the banality of evil. With its descriptions of super-surveillance, lack of privacy and hopelessness, it evokes not only Egypt but also the modern world.

Sep 06, 2016

Enjoyable narrative and memorable characters. The literal queue in this story ties them all together in interesting ways. Descriptions of the neighborhood, the riots, the food and drink are so good. Yehya is the central character, but he's not quite as fleshed out as the others, whose thoughts and worries we are privy to throughout. My only real complaint with this novel is that it ends so abruptly and I was left utterly unfulfilled. However, it's a thoughtful novel, worth the read and dredging up issues that are important to our contemporary world.

Aug 05, 2016

Tough read about a red tape world and a line that keeps growing. Enjoyed ultimately


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