Clamor of the Lake

Clamor of the Lake

Mohamed El-Bisatie
Translated by Hala El-Bisatie
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15m7jsc
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  • Book Info
    Clamor of the Lake
    Book Description:

    Clamor of the Lake begins with the appearance of an old fisherman of unknown origin sailing a black boat. Taciturn and enigmatic, he takes on a woman and her twin boys. While he gives away nothing about his past, his undemanding companionship prompts the woman to narrate her turbulent life. Meanwhile, in a nearby village by the lake, Gomaa and his wife have found respite from the dreariness of their existence in the fantastic objects the sea churns up during gales—a sword, alluring panties, a talisman. But when the waves cast up a chest that speaks in a language no one can comprehend, Gomaa is haunted by its voice. As the tumult of the lake drives a wedge between the couple, it turns two neighbors into close allies: Karawia, a café proprietor, and Afifi, a grocer. Eventually, they too will be haunted by the siren song of the lake. In Mohamed El-Bisatie’s lyrical novel, the stories of these various figures converge on the mercurial presence of the lake, which in the end proves the narrative’s true hero. An accomplished experiment in the poetics of space, Clamor of the Lake won the 1995 Cairo International Book Fair Award for Best Novel of the Year.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-197-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Translatorʹs Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Chapter 1 An Old Fisherman
    (pp. 1-28)

    The waters of the lake flow languidly as they approach the sea. The lake’s distant shore that blends into the horizon emerges swathed in mist and looms pale gray, revealing curvatures and protrusions, then it twists, mud-dark, in a sharp bend.

    The reeds and brush thicken as the lake’s two shores draw closer and proceed sinuously to form a narrow channel with thick mud seeping over its banks. The reeds disappear as the channel approaches the sea, where the sandy shore sprawls with its huge, dark rocks.

    The waves of the lake chase each other lazily, small and even like...

  5. Chapter 2 Sea Gale
    (pp. 29-62)

    Urbanization has crept north toward the lake. Small one-story houses have been hastily built with concrete. They have wide brick benches, narrow courtyards, and flat roofs, many of which remain incomplete. Bits of rope and tatters, flung by the wind, cling to the rusty iron rods that jut out of them. Shops occupy the corners of houses, or sometimes a wall with a window, and are marked out by barrels of oil and gasoline heaped in front of them. The cafés give onto the open space where a small patch of earth has been leveled and planted with one or...

  6. Chapter 3 Wilderness
    (pp. 63-86)

    They talk about the sea gale for days after it has passed, then forget about it. When mention is made of the losses that have befallen the inhabitants of the settlement, they say Karawia the café proprietor and Afifi the grocer are the hardest hit. They see the two of them wading through the water and mud, then stopping not far in the midst of the open space with their gallabiyas rolled up. Karawia and Afifi stand still, looking out to sea, where the waves have calmed, bewildered by what has happened.

    The café and the shop occupy the two...

  7. Chapter 4 And They Left
    (pp. 87-88)

    They had come before. They pitched tents on the shore and constructed a concrete dam on the mouth of the channel, the side that gives onto the sea. A few days later they constructed another dam behind it, a step away. With parted legs, the boys would walk on the dams to the other bank. And they left.

    Then they returned. They pitched their tents for one day and burned the grass and weeds on the banks of the channel and along the shore of the lake. The fire left dark patches that continued to spout smoke for two days....

  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 89-92)