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Paperback I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing Book

ISBN: 0743237595

ISBN13: 9780743237598

I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

From the author of Still Life with Insects comes a contemporary tale of an unlikely connection between an American historian and an Armenian theater critic on the streets of Cairo.

While in Cairo, Ib, an American historian and translator crosses paths with an Armenian-born theater critic and drama teacher, Gamal-Leon. Gamal-Leon begins to trace Ib's every step, playing practical jokes on him in an effort to challenge Ib's easygoing...

Customer Reviews

1 rating

Foreigness explored

Brian Kiteley has written two excellent novels - why he is not better known escapes me. I Know Many Songs, but I Cannot Sing is a much more difficult read than Still Life with Insects but well worth the concentration required.Kitely explored "foreigness" in a variety of forms in Cairo - the American (respectful and disrespectful), Coptic Christian, German Sufi's, Armenian, and a variety of 'native' Egyptians who either by mixed heritage or Western education also are 'foreign'. Kitely is superb in allowing the Egyptian world-view to be as real as the European world-view at the same time that he emphasizes the contraditions.The story line is seemingly simple ... an Armenian actor begins following an American/European teacher as a practical joke; they become friends an spend a remarkable night in Ramadan going from house/shop/office/prison/street to another. One cultural is consistently being played off another to provide competing explanations of the events. Kitely is a master at using the small detail - standing less than a foot away comfortable for Egyptians but not Americans, crooked lanes keeping cities cool while European straight boulevards allow the wind to blow cool night air away ... With the ever shifting perspective of dream, premonition, police spying, story time, added knowledge, the reader has a sense of being 'foreign' to the novel - a touch of Kiteley's mastery of his form.Neither of Kiteley's novels should be neglected, even if it requires searching the used book market.
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