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The Jokers

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Written by Albert CosseryAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Albert Cossery
Translated by Anna MoschovakisAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Anna Moschovakis
Introduction by James BuchanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by James Buchan


List Price: $14.95


On Sale: July 13, 2010
Pages: 232 | ISBN: 978-1-59017-401-2
Published by : NYRB Classics New York Review Books
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fiction (12) egypt (8) france (4)
fiction (12) egypt (8) france (4)


Who are the jokers?


The jokers are the government, and the biggest joker of all is the governor, a bug-eyed, strutting, rapacious character of unequaled incompetence who presides over the nameless Middle Eastern city where this effervescent comedy by Albert Cossery is set.


The jokers are also the revolutionaries, no less bumbling and no less infatuated with the trappings of power than the government they oppose.


And the jokers are Karim, Omar, Heykal, Urfy, and their friends, free spirits who see the other jokers for the jokers they are and have cooked up a sophisticated and, most important, foolproof plan to enliven public life with a dash of subversive humor.


The joke is on them all.



"Albert Cossery, who died in 2008 at age 94, 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.' ... The Jokers is a small masterpiece…” –David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times

"Cossery’s account of finding the space to protest and retain your sense of humor is equal parts funny and vicious." --Jessa Crispin, NPR


“Cossery argues the futility of locking horns with your oppressor. . . . Far more effective—and far more natural—to undermine it by mockery and ridicule, as happens in this book to hilarious effect.”

—The Independent


“Cossery’s use of irony is one of the most powerful and pity-inducing to be found in any literature East or West, old or new. It is an irony so fierce, an anger so sharply muted by inversion of sarcasm and disgust that it makes the reader’s hair stand on end with guilty compassion.”

—John Murray


“His caustic satire burned like the desert sun, undermining all forms of authority.”

—The Guardian


“A jewel of eccentric humor.” —Le Monde

  • The Jokers by Albert Cossery; Translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis
  • July 13, 2010
  • Fiction - Literary
  • NYRB Classics
  • $14.95
  • 9781590173251

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