(2012) A novel and sixteen short stories make up this collection by Egypt’s bestselling novelist as he reveals with skill and detachment the minute stitches of pain that hold together an individual, a family, a school classroom, or the relationship between a man and a woman. Can a man so alienated from his society that he regards all its members as no better than microbes wriggling under a microscope survive within it? Can cynical religiosity triumph over human decency? Can a man put the thought of a delicious dish of beans behind him long enough to mourn his father’s death? Alongside these wry questions, other, less mordant perspectives also have their place: an aging cabaret dancer bestows the blessing of a vanished world on her lover’s son; a crippled boy wins subjective victory from objective disaster. In Friendly Fire, readers will find again the vivid, passionate characters of today’s Egypt, clamoring to be heard.