Cairo in crisis: The Republic of False Truths, by Alaa Al Aswany, reviewed

Certain novels complicate the very notion of literary enjoyment. This, by the author of the international bestseller The Yacoubian Building, is such a one. Despite its gripping narrative, compelling structure and vivid characters, every time I picked it up it was with a sinking heart. In telling the story of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 through the viewpoint of a variety of Cairenes both for and against, Alaa Al Aswany holds out the slender straw of hope against the slashing shears of repression. General Ahmad Alwany has just supervised the torture of a man and the abuse of his wife at his HQ. But it’s not as though he’s devoid