The Ages of Daniel in the City of Threads

Ahmad Abdulatif

The novel is a dystopic allegory about the apocalypse, set in a nameless city of threads, or dolls, which might be a macabre projection of Cairo. In the opening scene, naked men with their throats cut are laid out around a fountain in the shape of a flower. Daniel meanwhile has been shot and is the only one still fully clothed; the narrative works backward to explain why. Several Daniels appear in the story, each numbered to represent different stages of his life. Daniel 2 works in an oppressive archive where there are files on the whole population, and there he reads about Daniel 1, a younger version of himself, who lived in the days before the apocalyptic flood, suffered sexual abuse committed by his teacher and took revenge on him. The novel has a unique narrative and linguistic style, with frequent repeated refrains and a lack of punctuation when Daniel 2 speaks, reinforcing its uncanny, nightmarish quality.


Dar al-Ain


2023 Longlist