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‘The Maquette of Cairo,’ New Novel by Tareq Imam

‘The Maquette of Cairo,’ New Novel by Tareq Imam

Thursday, 16 December, 2021 - 07:30

“The Maquette of Cairo,” another unusual novel by Tareq Imam, was recently released by the Italy-based “Al Mutawassit” publishing house.

In his new book, Imam exposes the Egyptian reality and its social, political, and cultural transformations using imagination and fantasia, an essential factor he uses in all his novels. Imagination in novels is not only a junction between memory and reality, but also an energy dreaming of a better reality that gives the human being a special sense of belonging to a certain place.

Fantasia becomes more obvious in the story when the author deals with time and characters, and builds living connections with diverse indications on the relation between humans, cities, and history. Fantasia is like a time key and a magical eye that links imagination and reality.

“The Maquette of Cairo” uses a wide imagination to overcome reality, obstacles, intervals, and logical order when connecting objects and elements.

In the beginning of his story, Imam creates conflict circles when he announces at an art gallery, in the year 2045, a project aimed at reestablishing the old Cairo that existed 25 years ago. This is how the fantasia of reality turns into a dream that oscillates between the possible and the impossible. Then, in the moment of clash, the maquette transforms into a “weird material that shades everything,” starting with the nature of architectural tasks, the vision horizon, and the names of the novel’s characters.

The author distributes the tasks on three characters, Orija, Billiardo, and Nod, and each one of them represents a different period. The periods feature four main dates: one from the near past, in the year 2011and the January 25 Revolution; one from the present, in 2020, observing the outcomes of the uprising from over the maquette’s roof; one in the year 2045; and the fourth come later in the future to conclude the vision.

The lives in the novel resemble the lives of our time, which enables the conflict to open on more brilliant futuristic visions, and to give the reality a complete picture that extends in time and place.

“The Maquette of Cairo” features a seamless narrative language with touches of poetry and visual rhythm… “There are people who come to this world and say few words. Those die and leave tons of unsaid words behind them,” it reads.

Tareq Imam was born in 1977 and graduated from the English language department at the Alexandria University. He won many literary awards including the “Sawiris Cultural Award for Short Story” (2012), and the Museum of Words Prize (2013). His previous works include “The Serenity of Killers,” “City of Infinite Walls,” and “Taste of Sleep.”

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