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Proud Beggars (New York Review Books…
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Proud Beggars (New York Review Books Classics) (utgåvan 2011)

av Albert Cossery (Författare), Thomas W. Cushing (Översättare), Alyson Waters (Inledning)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1797113,842 (3.82)48
"Early in Proud Beggars, a brutal and motiveless murder is committed in a Cairo brothel. But the real mystery at the heart of Albert Cossery's wry black comedy is not the cause of this death, but the paradoxical richness to be found in even the most materially impoverished life. Chief among Cossery's characteristically proud beggars is Gohar, a former professor turned beggar, whorehouse accountant, hashish aficionado, and street philosopher. Such is his native charm that he has accumulated a small coterie that includes Yeghen, a rhapsodic poet and drug dealer and El Kordi, an ineffectual clerk and would-be revolutionary who dreams of rescuing a consumptive prostitute from her miserable life. The police investigator Nour El Din, harboring a dark secret of his own, suspects all three of the brothel murder, but finds himself captivated by their warm good humor. He is drawn to these men. How is it that they live surrounded by degrading poverty, yet possess a joie de vivre that even the most assiduous forces of state cannot suppress? Do they, despite their rejection of social norms and all ambition, hold the secret of earthly contentment? And so this short novel, considered one of Cossery's masterpieces, is at once biting social commentary, police procedural, and a mischievous delight in its own right"--… (mer)
Medlem:SnootyBaronet
Titel:Proud Beggars (New York Review Books Classics)
Författare:Albert Cossery (Författare)
Andra författare:Thomas W. Cushing (Översättare), Alyson Waters (Inledning)
Info:NYRB Classics (2011), 208 pages
Samlingar:Hodgepodge
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» Se även 48 omnämnanden

engelska (6)  franska (1)  Alla språk (7)
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Proud Beggars is an exquisite meditation on dignity, not just another Egyptian noir (though there isn't anything bad about that). Neither is this a tale of the Junkie Raskolnikov in the Medina, which is what the plot suggests initially. The narrative involves a trio of friends in a seedy district of Cairo, each singular in his trials and ambitions. A crime is committed and such alerts the presence of a conflicted police detective. What follows is remarkable. There a re a pair of scenes which explore humanity's capacity for contentment. I pause when I consider either of them.

Thanks to Jonathan Morton for his endorsement of Mr. Cossery.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This is an incredible novel! I do not know if it is satirical or deadly serious. Probably both. Set in Post WWII Egypt amongst a host of beggars, the reader gets a glimpse into a sub-culture which may well represent the only means to true peace and joy? If one has nothing left to lose, life becomes full of peace? The cast of characters?: Gohar (university professor become hashish addict whose dream is to migrate to Syria where there are free fields of hashish), Yeghen (Gohars's dealer and supplicant), El Kordi (civil servant who dreams of performing acts of heroism to free his beloved who happens to be a prostitute), Nour El Dine (detective and homosexual who dreams of rising above his life amongst the masses), and many more. Oh, did I mention that there is also a murder? Yes, this novel is entertaining, philosophical, and disturbing all at once. Just read it and see for yourself! ( )
  hemlokgang | Jan 23, 2015 |
This is a short book. The narrative kept me intrigued and fascinated. Maybe I just read too many big boring books. Usually it takes me a month to read a book but this one took a day and that was very much part time reading.

There is a small cast of characters very nicely drawn. We switch from person to person and get their interior monologue and see what makes them tick, their world view.

OK this is a plenty strange book. Maybe is like Camus' The Stranger. Which came first, I don't know. They both start off with senseless murders, by the hero. Our hero here is a total ascetic - lives in a room with one chair, a crate for a table, and a pile of newspapers for a bed. Was that Diogenes who slept in a bathtub? I always envision a cast iron enameled claw foot bathtub. I don't think the ancient Greeks had such things!

Our hero doesn't murder for any clever reason. It's a fascinating question, really. If all our vast superstructure of fancy philosophy and politics etc. is really a big corrupt charade, is our only alternative to follow the impulse of the moment, to wallow in the easy escape of hashish? Maybe that is the real question of this novel. It doesn't pose the question for us, it confronts us with the issue.

This book doesn't make Cairo seem foreign at all. Maybe this kind of squalor would have seemed utterly foreign in say the 1950s in the USA. Anymore, hanging out in North Philadelphia or Camden or Chester PA or Oakland CA etc. etc., it's really how we live too.

This is an excellent novel. It uses a situation, a story, to explore fundamental questions about society and meaning. ( )
  kukulaj | Aug 4, 2014 |
In the teeming slums of Cairo, three men enjoy a friendship -- and life. One is a former college professor who, for reasons unknown, has chosen a life of extreme poverty, leavened by hashish. One is his sort-of dealer, a poet who was born into "respectable" poverty and has sunk lower. And the third is a low-level civil servant who pays his colleagues to do his work and considers himself a revolutionary, although one who is always on the lookout for women. For a while the book explores their lives as, mostly cheerfully, they interact with other characters, including the denizens of a local brothel and people who are even poorer than they are, until (not much of a spoiler alert) one of them commits a mostly meaningless murder. Then the fascinating character of the police inspector enters the novel, and the three friends, in the most kindly way, toy with him.

Although the plot, such as it is, revolves around whether the inspector will solve the case, the novel is really about the meaning of life, the vast gap between the rich and the poor and between the powerful and the powerless, and above all, the importance of dignity. Cossery is a wonderful writer, and much of the book is very funny even as it portrays people whose poverty is horrifying and almost unimaginable. I will be looking for his other work.
2 rösta rebeccanyc | Jan 3, 2012 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (3 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Albert Cosseryprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Cushing, Thomas W.Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Waters, AlysonInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Waters, AlysonRevisions to translation by Cushingmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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"Early in Proud Beggars, a brutal and motiveless murder is committed in a Cairo brothel. But the real mystery at the heart of Albert Cossery's wry black comedy is not the cause of this death, but the paradoxical richness to be found in even the most materially impoverished life. Chief among Cossery's characteristically proud beggars is Gohar, a former professor turned beggar, whorehouse accountant, hashish aficionado, and street philosopher. Such is his native charm that he has accumulated a small coterie that includes Yeghen, a rhapsodic poet and drug dealer and El Kordi, an ineffectual clerk and would-be revolutionary who dreams of rescuing a consumptive prostitute from her miserable life. The police investigator Nour El Din, harboring a dark secret of his own, suspects all three of the brothel murder, but finds himself captivated by their warm good humor. He is drawn to these men. How is it that they live surrounded by degrading poverty, yet possess a joie de vivre that even the most assiduous forces of state cannot suppress? Do they, despite their rejection of social norms and all ambition, hold the secret of earthly contentment? And so this short novel, considered one of Cossery's masterpieces, is at once biting social commentary, police procedural, and a mischievous delight in its own right"--

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