Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Introducing Handmade New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer redoaks redoaks redoaks  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage UnchartedBundle Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing Kids Halloween
Friendly Fire and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $1.33 (9%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Friendly Fire: Stories has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Green Earth Books. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Friendly Fire: Stories Paperback – September 15, 2009

6 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$0.70 $0.01

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin
"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" by George R. R. Martin
Check out one of the featured new releases this month in Science Fiction & Fantasy, by George R. R. Martin. Learn more | See related books
$13.66 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Friendly Fire: Stories
  • +
  • Chicago: A Novel
  • +
  • The Yacoubian Building: A Novel
Total price: $39.57
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his deft new collection, the ever-controversial Al Aswany (The Yacoubian Building) again delves into the various miseries of modern Egyptian life. In the long story The Isam Abd el-Ati Papers, the title character rants against Egypt and its citizens with irresistible venom. Isam's hobbies include denouncing the stupid tribal loyalty of his compatriots, humiliating his defeated cartoon-drawing father, sleeping with his mother's maid and infuriating his co-workers by blatantly sipping coffee during Ramadan. But when Isam meets the enchanting German, Jutta, it appears that he may have found just the Western woman to ease his existential pain. In the powerful A Look into Nagi's Face, Nagi, a half-French student, becomes a sadistic teacher's favorite, upsetting the classroom's balance of power. Domestic violence in a bourgeois Egyptian household gets out of hand in When the Glass Shatters; Dearest Sister Makarim mocks the formalities and traditions that hinder real communication between the sexes in modern Muslim culture. Acerbic critique of Egyptian culture is what weaves these stories into a coherent collection. The author systematically unveils his country's most revered institutions, from hospitals and schools to religion and marriage. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Al Aswany masterfully deciphers the forces behind social polarization over class, gender, race, religion, and politics, tracking the pendulum swings from sympathy to hate, dream to despair, sorrow to resignation, and refusing simple answers and tidy conclusions.” (Booklist)

“A startling first collection, elegant yet pointedly sharp-tongued and sarcastic…. Al Aswany is an insightful student of the human condition whose trenchant characters evoke a weird hybrid of Albert Camus and Charles Bukowski; the strange landscape depicted is at once painful and playful, rich in meaning and understatement.” (Library Journal)

“At times al-Aswany’s stories are heartbreaking, at times they are uncomfortable, at times hilarious, but no matter what the mood, his work is always steeped in the greywater of humanity.” (Virginia Quarterly Review)

See all Editorial Reviews
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061766631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061766633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Alaa Al Aswany writes of contemporary Egypt, the Egypt he sees and interprets. He explains in his very thorough and worthy of note preface; that there is a usual similarity between the audiences of the first moving pictures who were terrified because they believed the train coming toward them was real and the people who believe the literature they read is real; that one should not interpret his writing as a hatred of Egypt.
He explains the history of the book, mainly his first story - 'The Isam Abd el-Ati Papers' and why it was not published at his first try. His 219 page book, Friendly Fire consists of short stories, the first 92 pages long, the other 16 much shorter. He is a good writer, but one can see why the Egyptian authorities would not publish his writing; it expresses no virtue of the country or its' people - one has to remind themselves of his admonishing in the preface that he loves his country and his literature possesses an independent existence from his thinking.
So, in summary be prepared for a book with stories that rail on the subject of human kind, not the worst of society but the everyday foibles and failings of the inhabitants of modern Egypt, but they could exist anywhere -the teasing of schoolmates, the difficulties and obstacles of achieving one's life dreams.
Each story is a tale of woe and wretched luck. Each story leaves much of what will finally happen to your imagination, much as life is. This is not just about Egypt but the state of anger and frustration in humankind - well written but frustrating to me in that there seemed to be no optimism or closure. So read if you are interested a different style and a critically acclaimed contemporary Egyptian writer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
This book was published in Arabic in 2004 and in English in 2009. It contained 16 short stories and a novella. The novella took up just under half of the book.

I came to this after reading the author's Yacoubian Building (2002), which impressed as a window into the lives and values of contemporary Egyptians in Cairo. For me, Friendly Fire was a lesser work but contained some interesting things also.

As with Yacoubian, the writer focused all around society in Cairo, finding dysfunction nearly everywhere. Human potential was stifled continually by bureaucracy, corruption, envy and the struggle to survive. The need to cater to the whims of all-powerful superiors in the workplace led to humiliation. The lack of control over their lives turned children and adults into beasts. People sacrificed themselves to better the lives of family members, or prostituted themselves to foreigners for money. Behaving badly, some masked their behavior with florid phrases of religious piety.

Devotion to family members -- especially mothers and children -- offered some the strongest motivation to keep struggling. But mostly the problems conspired to keep people apart and drove sensitive souls to the edge. The contrast was strong between past hope -- before 1952 -- and present disappointment. Unlike Yacoubian, there were few positives, no optimism and no way out. In some ways, the writing covered territory similar to that of VS Naipaul on Islam and on the Third World, and seemed to share much of that writer's outlook.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By amateco on August 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading The Yacoubian Building - which is the reflection of a decade that made a change in the world, the nineties,and especifically in Egypt- this book doesn't match the expectations that I had. However, it is a good way to know the personality ans psychology of the Egyptians.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Friendly Fire: Stories
This item: Friendly Fire: Stories
Price: $13.66
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?