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The Lodging House

by Khairy Shalaby

Unconciously, I found this story in my thoughts throughout the day and became anxious to carry on poking my nose into the fantastic yet down to earth lives of the people of the Wikala. I stumbled initially with the arabic names and cultures and definitely squirmed through some of the more awkward predicaments including a graphic 'love scene' involving a monkey! The glossary at the back is helpful if you want to expand on the arabic terms.

Extract

'Come drink some tea. It's a happy occasion to see you here.'
When he saw that I was reluctant and surprised, he stopped, shouting in protest, 'My dear Sir. Have you forgotten already? It hasn't been so long since you wrote up my marriage contract with your own blessed hand, with Shawadfi at the wikala.'
I couldn't help shouting, 'How are you? Bridegroom? How's marriage?'

'Wonderful, thank God. God has given me a really good woman, a great helpmate! Thanks to her inheritance and mine too, for I am a lucky fellow.'
Translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab

Parallels

The Northern Clemency by Phillip Henshaw
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale
 

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