Yusuf Idris, one of Egypt's finest writers. once remarked, "In a constantly changing world … a writer is a major factor in revolution. He has a part to play in society." Idris played his part in modem Egyptian society by urging a transition, even a revolution in perceptions and attitudes. As a reminder that life is in flux and human perception is subjective, Idris introduces grotesque elements into his fiction. A life of political and professional involvement in the Arab world informs Idris' use of the grotesque — a term I use in its widest definition as that which is incongruous with the "normal" — as a tool for prompting an examination of the individual and her or his role in modem Egyptian society.



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