book cover of The Smell of It

The Smell of It

(1971)
(That Smell)
A Novella by

 
 
That Smell is Sonallah Ibrahim’s modernist masterpiece and one of the most influential Arabic novels. Composed in the wake of a five-year prison sentence, the semi-autobiographical story follows a recently released political prisoner as he wanders through Cairo, adrift in his native city.

That Smell is Sonallah Ibrahim’s modernist masterpiece and one of the most influential novels written in Arabic since WWII. Composed after a five-year term in prison, the semi-autobiographical story follows a recently released political prisoner as he wanders through Cairo, adrift in his native city. Living under house arrest, he tries to write of his tortuous experience, but instead smokes, spies on the neighbors, visits old lovers, and marvels at Egypt’s new consumer culture. Published in 1966, That Smell was immediately banned and the print-run confiscated. The original, uncensored version did not appear in Egypt for another twenty years.

For this edition, translator Robyn Creswell has also included an annotated selection of the author’s Notes from Prison, Ibrahim’s prison diaries—a personal archive comprising hundreds of handwritten notes copied onto Bafra-brand cigarette papers and smuggled out of jail. These stark, intense writings shed unexpected light on the sources and motives of Ibrahim’s groundbreaking novel. Also included in this edition is Ibrahim’s celebrated essay about the writing and reception of That Smell.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Used availability for Sonallah Ibrahim's The Smell of It

Hardback Editions

October 1971 : UK Hardback
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Title: Smell Of It Ibrahim (Heinemann African Writers Series)
Author(s): Sonallah Ibrahim
ISBN: 0-435-90633-X / 978-0-435-90633-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Heinemann
Availability: Amazon UK   


Paperback Editions

February 2013 : USA Paperback
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Title: That Smell and Notes from Prison (Ndp)
Author(s): Sonallah Ibrahim
ISBN: 0-8112-2036-2 / 978-0-8112-2036-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: New Directions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


October 1978 : UK Paperback
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Title: Smell Of It Ibrahim Aa 10 (Heinemann Arabic Authors Series)
Author(s): Sonallah Ibrahim
ISBN: 0-435-99400-X / 978-0-435-99400-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Heinemann
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

February 2013 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: That Smell and Notes from Prison (Ndp)
Author(s): Sonallah Ibrahim
Publisher: New Directions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU