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Khaled Mamoun works at the Palace of Confessions, a mysterious state-run security agency located in middle-class Cairo, transcribing the testimonies of criminals. At one interrogation, he encounters Mustafa Ismail: a university professor turned master thief, who breaks into the homes of the great and the good and then blackmails them into silence.
Mustafa has dedicated his existence to the perfection of his trade and authored a book titled The Book of Safety, the ultimate guide to successful thievery, containing everything from philosophical principles to the best way to open a door.
Yasser Abdel Hafiz's beautiful and deceptively effortless novel tracks Khaled's descent into obsession with this mysterious book and its author, in a narrative that holds us spellbound.
Yaser Abdel Hafez is a journalist and novelist, and currently works as an editor at the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. His first novel On the Occasion of Life was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. He lives in Cairo.
Robin Moger is the translator of Otared by Mohammad Rabie and Women of Karantina by Nael Eltoukhy, among other books. His translation for Writing Revolution won the 2013 English PEN Award for outstanding writing in translation. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.