Long-Term Plans

Long-Term Plans
(working title)
خطط طويلة الأجل
(Khitat tawilat al-ajal )

Written by

(محمد فرج)

Published by


A timely portrayal of human life under late capitalism, in a world simmering with lust and fear

Vain company events, pointless business trips, unnerving city hall visits: Farag’s protagonists – employees, sons, fathers, husbands and occasionally women – are animated by the force majeure of daily routines, state bureaucracy and miscellaneous obligations. Wandering through rapidly changing cityscapes, they perform tasks and social duties that mean very little to them, yet they experience states of total loss of control, embarrassment and all-encompassing doubt that contrast dramatically with the rigid frameworks within which they live. In Long-Term Plans, the meaningless and highly artificial reality of contemporary labour is set against the forces of lust and violence that lurk everywhere in all their casual monstrosity. Familiar situations teeter on the edge of an abyss of dreams, sometimes plunging irreversibly into the depths below: an architectonic labyrinth of memories; a sudden kiss in the gap between two train carriages; a discarded suicide plan; hedgehogs, frogs, and lizards queueing at the city hall; an explosive belt on the underground; and unremarkable sex scenes in the city’s unwelcoming public spaces.

Approximate number of pages: 119 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author‘s agent


Categories: fiction & short stories
Tags: Egypt & urban
Time periods: 21th century

Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

Despite the stories being mostly set in nowadays Egypt, the situations they convey, in all their surrealness, are extremely relatable to any city dweller living and working in our times. Their dreamlikeness results in a mingling of outer and inner spaces, which strangely makes the stories gain in both realism and familiarity, as it removes them slightly above specific geographies. And don’t we all sometimes doubt reality to its core?

Prizes and awards

  • Sawiris prize for best short story collection by a young writer, 2020
Reviewed by Sandra Hetzl