Metro: A Story of Cairo

Magdy El Shafee, Author, El Shafee, Author, Chip Rossetti, Translator, Rossetti, Translator
Magdy El Shafee. Metropolitan, $20 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9488-6
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 06/05/2012
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Young software genius Shebab longs to escape the social constraintsof modern Cairo while also trying to avoid an irate a loan shark. A way out comes when a local businessman offers him work, but that hope is snuffed when Shebab and his friend Mustafa witness the man’s murder. The man’s cryptic dying words set the two friends on a trail of political corruption and intrigue, while they also commit a bank robbery in a desperate effort to fund a reboot of their directionless lives. El Shafee strives for an insightful look at modern metropolitan Egypt, but even the best fiction can be a tough read when its characters are unsympathetic bores, perhaps this work’s greatest failing. The characters are just not engaging enough to care about, so Shebab’s nonjourney leaves the reader with a disappointing narrative. The inconsistent art varies between the occasional accomplished illustration, but a majority of images are so confusing they warrant backtracking a few panels, or maybe a page, in order to understand what’s being communicated. (June)
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