Crash Landing of the Flying Egyptian


32 pages
ISBN 0-919966-85-3
DDC C892'.73





Translated by Saad El-Gabalawy
Reviewed by Dennis Denisoff

Dennis Denisoff teaches English at McGill University and is the author
of Dog Years.


This slim volume contains both an English and an Arabic version of the
prose work Crash Landing of the Flying Egyptian, as well as a four-page
introduction that summarizes the text and explains its connection to the
first two novellas in Saad Elkhadem’s trilogy, Canadian Adventures of
the Flying Egyptian and Chronicle of the Flying Egyptian in Canada.
Written entirely in the second person, the novella presents the various
trials and tribulations of an Egyptian Muslim trying to come to terms
with contemporary Western reality.

The prose is tight and clear, the images vivid. Of particular note are
descriptions of the protagonist’s childhood with a brutal, ignorant
father. While the emphasis on the father’s Old World perspective is
reminiscent of many conventional novels about immigration to North
America, there is nothing run-of-the-mill about the syntax and rhythms
of Elkhadem’s prose, which frequently verges on the poetic. Similarly,
the excessive, almost garish, images give the text a highly aesthetic
quality. Unfortunately, many of the characters, such as the parents and
siblings of the protagonist, are two-dimensional, representing nothing
more than particular attitudes such as aggression or submission. The
author presumably intends the reader to sympathize with the protagonist,
but this character’s misogyny makes it difficult, if not impossible,
to do so.


Elkhadem, Saad., “Crash Landing of the Flying Egyptian,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,