Heads Ripe for Plucking

Heads Ripe for Plucking

by Mahmoud Al-Wardani


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An Arab tyrant once infamously declared, “I see heads that are ripe for plucking.” In Mahmoud Al-Wardani’s novel of tyranny and oppression, an impaled head seeks solace in narrating similar woes it sustained in previous incarnations. Beheadings, both literal and metaphorical—torture, murder, decapitation, brainwashing, losing one’s head—are the subject of the six stories that unfold. The narrative takes us from the most archetypal beheading in Arabo-Islamic history, that of al-Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, via a crime passionel, the torture of Communists in Nasser’s prisons, the meanderings of a Cairene teenager unwittingly caught in the bread riots of 1977, a body dismembered in the 1991 Gulf War, and a bloodless beheading on the eve of the new millennium, into a dystopic future where heads are periodically severed to undergo maintenance and downloading of programs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789774161889
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, The
Publication date: 11/01/2008
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Mahmoud Al-Wardani, born in Cairo in 1950, is a writer and cultural journalist. He is the author of six novels and three collections of short stories.

Hala Halim teaches at New York University. Her translation of Mohamed El-Bisatie’s Clamor of the Lake (AUC Press, 2004) won an Egyptian State Incentive Award.

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