It is a Kafkaesque allegory in which an anonymous narrator is charged by an obscure organization to carry out a study on “the most brilliant personality of the Arab world” and thinks he found it in the person of a nebulous “Doctor”. It is this symbolism and the incursion into the underground machinery of power that most interested Thomas Azuélos in the creation of his loose adaptation of the novel in a comic. Putting this same “committee” on the stage, he probes, through a “doctor” with many different faces, all layers of the Egyptian society throughout thirty years of the country’s history, from the appearance of Hosni Mubarak at the head of the state until the revolution of 2011.
About the Author
Sonallah Ibrahim was born in Cairo in 1937. He studied law at Cairo University and was imprisoned in 1959 for his political activities. While serving his five-year sentence he wrote Notes from Prison and composed That Smell shortly following his release. After several years abroad, he returned in 1974 to Cairo, where he has lived ever since, publishing many works of fiction. In 2004 he was awarded the Egyptian government’s prestigious Novelist of the Year prize. Ibrahim publicly declined the award, saying he could not accept a literary prize from “a government that, in my opinion, lacks the credibility to bestow it.”
About the Artist
Thomas Azuélos, born in 1972, is a French illustrator and comic book scriptwriter. He studied plastic arts in Montpellier and in Aix-en-Provence. As press-illustrator, he worked with Le Monde and several fanzines and magazines and created multiple comic books.