Laziness in the Fertile Valley

Laziness in the Fertile Valley

4.0 1
by Albert Cossery, William Goyen, Henry Miller, Anna Della Subin
     
 

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A portrait of a family of proud layabouts who avoid work and sleep all day by the Egyptian writer often referred to as "the Voltaire of the Nile"Laziness in the Fertile Valley is Albert Cossery’s biting social satire about a father, his three sons, and their uncle — slackers one and all. One brother has been sleeping for almost seven years, waking only

Overview

A portrait of a family of proud layabouts who avoid work and sleep all day by the Egyptian writer often referred to as "the Voltaire of the Nile"Laziness in the Fertile Valley is Albert Cossery’s biting social satire about a father, his three sons, and their uncle — slackers one and all. One brother has been sleeping for almost seven years, waking only to use the bathroom and eat a meal. Another savagely defends the household from women. Serag, the youngest, is the only member of the family interested in getting a job. But even he — try as he might — has a hard time resisting the call of laziness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
Egyptian writer Albert Cossery's second novel (after The House of Certain Death), first published in 1947, provides a graceful—and comical—meditation on idleness and the art of doing nothing. Cossery takes pleasure in showing us a family obsessed with doing nothing: from Rafik, the middle brother who rages against anyone who disrupts his sleep, to Galal, the eldest brother who is so lazy he leaves his bed only to eat and use the bathroom, to Hafez, the family patriarch, who wishes only to sleep and to marry. The one exception to this may be Serag, the sole member of his family to seek employment—yet he does so half-heartedly and in such a self-important way that he becomes the most comic character of all. Some of Cossery's characterizations seem outdated. Mimi, a homosexual character, feels forced as does Hoda, the female servant who is inexplicably devoted to Serag. But as we claw our way out of a global recession, Cossery's message about work is especially germane. For Cossery suggests that if backbreaking work is the only option to poverty, then laziness—a rebellion against drudgery—may be life's most meaningful task. (Nov.)
David Ulin - Los Angeles Times
“Albert Cossery ought to be a household name. He's that good: an elegant stylist, an unrelenting ironist, his great subject the futility of ambition 'in a world where everything is false.'”
Eliot Weinberger
“Albert Cossery was the bard of absolute indolence, and as you nod off with a smile over Laziness in the Fertile Valley, you may wonder if there's any point to waking up - except, of course, to read a few more pages.”
The Nation
“Cossery's heroes are the descendants of Baudelaire's flâneur, of the Surrealists with their rejection of the sacrosanct work ethic, not to mention the peripatetic Beats or the countercultural 'dropouts' of the 1960s.”
Henry Miller
“Despite the seemingly unrelieved gloom and futility in which his figures move, Cossery nevertheless expresses in every work the indomitable faith in the power of people to throw off the yoke.”
Los Angeles Times
“Albert Cossery ought to be a household name. He’s that good: an elegant stylist, an unrelenting ironist, his great subject the futility of ambition 'in a world where everything is false.'”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811218740
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
11/19/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Albert Cossery (1913–2008) was an Egyptian-born French novelist. Among his works are The Colors of Infamy, A Splendid Conspiracy, and The House of Certain Death, all published by New Directions.

William Goyen was an American writer, most known for his novel, The House of Breath.

Henry Miller (1891—1980) was one of the most controversial American novelists during his lifetime. His book, The Tropic of Cancer, was banned in the some U.S. states before being overruled by the Supreme Court. New Directions publishes several of his books.

Anna Della Subin is a contributor to Bidoun and Harper’s Magazine.

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Laziness in the Fertile Valley 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, but my main issue with this particular edition of the novel is the poor translation, resulting in a few small typos. You can work through them, they are small, but it is just a bit sloppy.