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The Hashish Waiter

The Hashish Waiter

Author(s): Khairy Shalaby

Location(s): Cairo

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1970s

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Tucked away in a rundown quarter, just out of sight of fashionable downtown Cairo, a group of intellectuals gather regularly to smoke hashish in Hakeems den. The den is the center of their lives, both a refuge and a stimulus, and at the center of the den is the remarkable man who keeps their hashish bowls topped upRowdy Salih. While his former life is a mystery to his loyal clientele of writers, painters, film directors, and even window dressers, each sees himself reflected in Salih; but without his humor, humility, or insight, or his occasional passions fueled by hootch. And when the nation has to face its own demons during the peace initiative of the 1970s, it is Rowdy Salih who speaks for them all. This is a comic novel with a broken heart very like Salih himself, whose warm rough voice calls out long after we have recovered from the novels painful conclusion.

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