Clamor of the Lake

Publishing House: The American University in Cairo Press

Publication Year: 2004

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 144

“Clamor of the Lake” by Mohamed El-Bisatie is a masterfully crafted novel that intertwines the lives of various characters around the enigmatic and ever-present backdrop of a lake. The story commences with the mysterious arrival of an old fisherman, sailing a black boat and shrouded in secrecy. He is a man of few words, whose past remains unknown. He soon takes a woman and her twin boys under his taciturn guardianship. In his quiet company, the woman finds the space to recount the tumultuous tale of her life.

Parallel to this narrative, in a nearby village by the lake, are Gomaa and his wife. They find a peculiar solace in the oddities brought ashore by the sea during storms – items like a sword, enticing panties, and a talisman. Their mundane life takes a strange turn when a mysterious chest washes up, speaking in an indecipherable language. The chest’s inexplicable voice begins to haunt Gomaa, creating a rift between him and his wife.

This disturbance caused by the lake also affects the dynamics between two neighbors, Karawia, who owns a café, and Afifi, a grocer. As they grow closer, they too find themselves drawn into the mysterious allure of the lake’s siren song.

El-Bisatie’s narrative skillfully converges the stories of these characters, centering on the lake as the pivotal element. The lake emerges not just as a setting, but as a dynamic and almost sentient force that profoundly influences the lives and fates of those around it. The novel delves deep into the poetics of space. With the lake serving as a metaphorical canvas upon which the characters’ stories are etched.

“Clamor of the Lake” is not just a tale of human experiences and relationships but an exploration of how our surroundings and environment shape our lives. This novel was recognized for its literary excellence. Winning the Cairo International Book Fair Award for Best Novel of the Year in 1995. El-Bisatie’s work stands out as an exceptional experiment in narrative space. Blending lyrical prose with a deep understanding of human psychology and the profound effects of nature on the human condition.

Read More About Mohamed El-Bisatie

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!