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One-Stop Office solutions. Office Furniture. Security Solutions. It's a simultaneously farcical and believable portrait of life under autocratic rule, with tiny glimmers of hope as a community forms within the queue.
TinyLetter Twitter Instagram Tumblr But Yehya was not convinced, and he did not stop bleeding. So many have placed this book on Speculative Fiction lists. I find that curious. Maybe, hopeful? The themes are unrelentingly bleak. After the teargas, brace for Kafka's Law. Not Murphy's -- rather have the stout than Beckett's blues. The novel concerns a thinly disguised Egypt which after the Arab spring, uhh I mean the Disgraceful Events, when But Yehya was not convinced, and he did not stop bleeding.
The novel concerns a thinly disguised Egypt which after the Arab spring, uhh I mean the Disgraceful Events, when an architectural menace The Gate is established to address the citizens need for permits, and oh they need a permit for essentially everything.
Much like the doors of K's Law--these never appear to open, nothing is processed and in despair people queue, hence the title. I won't spoil the specific situation which links most of the characters. It would be a farce if it wasn't so true. I finished this novel last night hearing tear gas cannons from Louisville.
That was a first. I am not suggesting matters are heading that way. Well, not yet بسمة. This novel is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern Country, although the author lives in Cairo and has written several works of non-fiction speaking out against oppression and torture in Egypt. In this book, there is a totalitarian regime, symbolized by the mysterious Gate, to which all citizens must apply for permits for almost everything. The main story line features Yehya, a man who was بسمة during the so called Disgraceful Events, and has a bullet in his stomach.
The book follows him and his frie This novel is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern Country, although the author lives in Cairo and has written several works of non-fiction speaking out against oppression and torture in Egypt. The book follows him and his friends as they try and arrange surgery to have the bullet removed, but they are stymied at every turn by the necessity of having permission from the Gate to have it removed, if you can believe that.
And the Gate is never open so people wait for weeks and months in the queue, hence the book's title. The book is well written and well translated from the Arabic and is recommended to people who like translated fiction or like this kind of story.
On the cover, there is a big eye, reminiscent of Big Brother is Watching You This is the story of how an authoritarian government works. History and reality are rewritten to tell fit the truth the government decides will work best to keep its citizens in line.
Fear is used to control the masses. Surveillance in many forms is everywhere and is constant. Tarek is a surgeon. As the book begins, he is reviewing the file of a patient he treated in the emergency room the night the "Disgraceful Events" began. The patient had been shot. After getting the x-rays and observing a b This is the story of how an authoritarian government works.
After getting the x-rays and observing a bullet lodged near the patient's kidneys, Tarek had determined it needed to be removed, but before he began the surgery, two things happened. First, a colleague reminded him that he could not remove a bullet without obtaining special permission, and second, his patient and all the others being treated after being injured in the Disgraceful Events were removed to the military hospital.
Tarek is unable to keep this patient from haunting him. The book is divided into six parts. Each part begins with a part of the patient's file -- Document 1 is titled "patient information"; Document 2 is titled "time, location, circumstances of the injury; Document 3 is titled "Examinations Conducted, Visible Symptoms, and Preliminary Diagnosis;" Document 4 is titled "patient's history;" Document 5 is titled "the Gate's response;" and Document 6 includes a "Follow-up" and "Notes.
It seems that almost every time he looks at it, something has been changed or added. Tarek becomes increasingly distraught over this patient. The patient, with his best friend, joins the "Queue" that is lined up before the Gate because he has to get a document from the Gate before he can get the surgery he needs.
The Gate, however, was closed after the Disgraceful Events and has yet to reopen. As the laws and regulations keep changing, more and more people find themselves needed to obtain something from the Queue and the line grows until it stretches for miles. Groups form within the Queue, a coffee shop opens within the Queue, boycott's arise and countered within the Queue.
For weeks and months, the Queue grows but the Gate has yet to reopen. The patient's girlfriend tries to help him get the x-ray he needs as part of his application for a permit to get the ever-moving bullet removed. This book starts slow. It is unclear at first what is going on - why are people in this line and why does it keep growing? But as the book moves forward, the stories of some of those in the Queue are told, as well as what their day-to-day life is like now that they are in the Queue.
A couple of the thoughts that kept running through my head as I read this book were 1 the high profile stories about President Obama not being an American citizen and being Muslim both attempts to rewrite the truth and 2 how average German citizens were kept in line during Hitler's rule. This is a frightening book. The story it tells has great relevance in today's world. This was just an okay read for me. This is a dystopia about a world ruled by a mysterious gate that popped up out of nowhere one day and began issuing laws and decrees.
At first people expected the Gate to be a good thing, but then the horror slowly dawns on them as the laws get stricter and stricter, forcing people to jump through numerous hoops to get anything done. Mostly it follows a character named Yehya and his This was just an okay read for me.
Mostly it follows a character named Yehya and his friends. Yehya has a bullet stuck in him because the Gate has decreed that no bullets shall be removed without authorization from the Gate.
So he waits in the Queue to get permission. The Gate still issues laws and amendments. But no one who needs anything from the Gate ever seems to get what they need. I have to say, being stuck in a line that never moves is pretty much my worst nightmare.
Like I waited in the Queue for warm croissants but by the time I reached the front all they had was day old bread. I do think the author did a lot of interesting things with the concept of the Queue. It seemed to take on a life and economy of its own. I think ultimately, this book felt unfinished to me.
There were a lot of really neat concepts that were never fully explained or carried through. This was a fascinating dystopian novel.
It takes place in an unnamed city in the middle east where there is a centralized authoritarian control known only as "The Gate" Citizens are required to obtain permission for just about anything from the gate.
The problem is the gate never seems to open so people have to wait in the most ridiculous queue ever and they never really get anywhere. Our main character, Yehya, has an even bigger problem. He needs permission from the gate to have a bullet remove This was a fascinating dystopian novel.
He needs permission from the gate to have a bullet removed. Only the events that led to him getting shot never happened, according to the gate. If you like books that have a neat and tidy ending with all questions answered this is NOT the book for you. Otherwise I definitely recommend this one. This was a challenging but in the end quite affecting novel. The author, an Egyptian journalist, is also a psychiatrist who treats victims of torture.
Excellent credentials for writing a novel about the impact of government oppression. Said patient had come to him for the removal of a bullet in his groin, received during an uprising that has come to be known as the Dis This was a challenging but in the end quite affecting novel. Said patient had come to him for the removal of a bullet in his groin, received during an uprising that has come to be known as the Disgraceful Events.
Though the uprising failed it had an unlooked for upshot: The Gate, where citizens must go for even the most basic permissions but which never opens. A queue of petitioners grows and grows so long that one cannot see from one end to the other.
In order to conceal all evidence that any civilians were shot during the uprising, Yehya must receive permission for the operation to remove the bullet, a permission that will never be granted because that would be an admission that a civilian was shot.
The queue becomes a community in itself attracting people from all walks of life. Many of them camp out there for weeks and weeks so as not to lose their place in line. I pictured something like the lines that form in America for concert tickets and such, except that in this queue the gate will never open. I grew to admire many of the characters.
Yehya, always in pain and slowly dying, is the Stoic. Amani, his girlfriend, in her attempts to help Yehya, pays a terrible price including mental torture. بسمة Mabrouk needs medicine for her son; her "camping spot" becomes a gathering place where she serves snacks, always has the latest news, and makes a living there instead of going to her job.
Ehab is the journalist who keeps writing for the dissenting newspaper that employs him but will not always publish his articles. When I finished the book, I had to lay on my reading futon with eyes closed and mind wandering for a good 30 minutes until the devastation wreaked on me began to fade.
I felt a bit of what Amani must have felt when she was kept captive in a place of darkness, where she could not see, smell, hear, taste or feel anything. I can't say that I found much hope in the story except from the characters who did their best to stand up to the oppression and not give in.
Human beings are equally strong in cruelty and dissent. What impressed me most was the realistic portrayal of the effects of totalitarianism on the human psyche. Basma Abdel Aziz is an incredible writer.
View all 6 comments. The Queue is built on historical precedence set by Arab Springs. The foundation of the story lies in the changing climate in the middle east with its revolt against authorities, outing fundamentalism and greater exposure to social media. The globe watched more closely than ever when an entire nation protested against their government and changed history forever. This book is set during one such moment in history where the revolt against government fails, and fails for the worse.
The building tha The Queue is built on historical precedence set by Arab Springs. The building that houses government is barricaded and the gate to enter this complex is closed. People form queue in front of this gate since getting permission to access anything - X-Ray, food, access, is fully controlled by the government.
The Queue follows a group of citizens who find themselves in a position to ask permission from government for their continued survival. When religious fundamentalism is added to the mix, few of the characters have direct consequences on their everyday life.
Aziz takes her readers on a slow journey into lives of people who are everyday people like you and me. There aren't grand gestures, grandiosity or overt use of political turmoil. The protests against the government is an occurrence that exists in edges of the pages - unforgotten but never unwritten. The complexities of life under an absolute authoritarian rule isn't blatantly obvious to those who go about their day without questioning, protesting or be in need of an outside help.
But a simple question to a baker can get citizen the boot and deny them food in future. That, is the true problem of regimes like these. The middle men, the ones who are on the ground and provide everyday service, with little to less power grow corrupt faster and make the life of people more difficult than it already is. Aziz touches many aspects of this kind of government - a government that rules with utmost authority but essentially doesn't care much about well being of its citizens.
The book setting isn't really Kafkaesque or Orwellian. Its far worse. The nature of dystopia as Kafka and Orwell imagined was rooted in history. What Aziz portrays isn't very far from reality and probably some of it is already in place in different parts of geographies. People, in general are distracted and don't realize the little installments of freedom we have started signing off to our governments.
Voices like Aziz come from the part of the world to which we are exposed to via news reels and documentaries. It is time we hear their personal stories as well. View all 3 comments. I finished this book today and I feel like I just got off a roller coaster. This is a dystopian novel, but it's also horror.
The Gate is meant to keep people "in line" all the while you have people recording citizen's every move. There's one specific passage that terrified me like no other book has done. Although the first pages were confusing, the second part of the book made up for it. The people in this book are scared, but the scarier part is that they are adapting. They are living. Even I finished this book today and I feel like I just got off a roller coaster. Even as the government rewrites history, the people go along with it.
This book gave me shivers. Read it! Initially when I began reading this, it read like a number of other dystopian novels, with exposition and a bit of world building although the novel is set in the present-day Middle East, so we're not talking a big fantasy world build. But then it just kept going. Day in and day out, describing the lives of people under an authoritarian regime who are waiting in line outside of a government office that never opens.
After the initial backdrop was placed, I began to get a bit bored. I realized I Initially when بسمة began reading this, it read like a number of other dystopian novels, with exposition and a bit of world building although the novel is set in the present-day Middle East, so we're not talking a big fantasy world build. I realized I was waiting for some hero or heroine to arise, take on the evil regime, and topple it. But that didn't happen.
This book is much more concerned with portraying the daily reality under conditions of oppression. The disbelief, anger, and resignation at each new, absurd government edict or pronouncement. People have been in the queue for months, always hopeful that today is the day the gate will open. Only once does someone take on the government, and the outcome leaves her a shattered shell of her former self, unable to sleep, afraid of her own shadow.
No plucky heroines are found here. Abdel Aziz does a masterful job of portraying and examining how easily information can be manipulated by a government propaganda machine, eventually causing people to question and discount reality. This seems absurd on the face of it, but the novel's greatest strength is forcing us to answer for ourselves, in the face of such a brutal and oppressive reality, what is to be gained by holding on to the truth? There is a pivotal scene in which one of the characters describes the nothingness in which she finds herself.
In a few pages, we are led into a directionless void, no scent, no texture, no communication. I found it terrifying.
Together with the 6 documents we are presented with throughout the book, I was made to feel the horror and the tension these characters faced in this world. And I had to ask the question of how people are able to communicate with one another under such a faceless, burdenso There is a pivotal scene in which one of the characters describes the nothingness in which she finds herself.
And I had to ask the question of how people are able to communicate with one another under such a faceless, burdensome power. The author writes of a mysterious government that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "keeping people in line" through the eyes of several fascinating characters.
The queue is long, but not orderly. No, the men and women jump forward if they can, leave, come back, live a sort of hazy life. Here in the queue, a kind of communication does takes place, in contrast to the silence of the Gate. Until the Violet Telecom becomes a player in the game. If you expect answers reading this superb book, you won't find them. There are questions here, questions I found to be stimulating and very satisfying.
Recommended to Nate D by: the latest announcement from the gate. Shelves: read-inafricadystopiaryegypt. A contemporary dystopian present from a part of the world perhaps uniquely positioned to comment on such. Written by an Egyptian journalist, this is the story how ordinary people, just by attempting to persevere in any way they can, may become complicit in perpetuating the unacceptable and intolerable.
Here, in an endless line formed in waiting for a government office to open, wherein one may get the paperwork to prove "True Citizenship" pr apply to have a bullet wound operated on. How relevant A contemporary dystopian present from a part of the world perhaps uniquely positioned to comment on such.
How relevant is this to the actual post-Arab Spring world? A mostly spoiler-free one this time, since my major problems with this are due to structure.
I went into this book with no expectations either way. While I saw the blurb about Kafka, I ignored it, because such blurbs are marketing, not anything else. If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be "unfocused. And there are a few things that crop up due to the translation issue, such as untranslated words like the clothing called galabay A mostly spoiler-free one this time, since my major problems with this are due to structure.
There are two "Disgraceful Events," yet each are referred to in the plural, even with the use of ordinal numbers. It's also frustrating, since the events in-setting are singular incidents. Even if that's a direct translation, there should have been some changes, since such usage is incorrect in English.
All my other problems with this book have to do specifically with how this reads as an unedited first draft, not a book published in multiple countries and having received official translation. The characters all have some very major problems as characters.
Most dystopias tend to follow one character around. This offers some kind of stable perspective for the reader and and such a character undergoes a full character arc about the circumstances they find themselves in. In this, we have at least six characters who are going through character arcs on the page but, because of the format and lack of depth for any characters, none of these stories are particularly compelling. This is a serious problem for a dystopia, because of the nature of the subgenre requires you to care about the characters and the circumstances.
This becomes even more of a problem when someone ends up in a watered-down version of Room but only isolation and darkness, but we're supposed to assume she was tortured so badly that she pulls a full Winston and loves Big Brother, essentially.
It doesn't work because of how short that part of the story is and because we're not given a timeline. Characters also sound notably similar. This is a problem, since we have a doctor, someone with a sociology background, a schoolteacher, a working woman who cannot read, and so on, with some differing views on religion and so on, yet their internal dialogue all sound the same. The characters also lack depth, being only a few surface traits.
The lack of focus also turns up with the political issues dealt with. Dystopias by their nature are a political genre, a warning the author gives about a specific extreme or insane ideology they fear will come to pass.
The problem with this one is twofold. First, the author is dealing with all sorts of different topics, but doesn't properly logically connect them in the story, thus it comes across another problem with her focus.
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