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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:269
  • eBook ISBN:9781483505527

Shahrazad's Tooth and Other Stories

by Gretchen McCullough

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Gretchen McCullough's collection of short stories offer humorous, unusual insights into the magic and wackiness of daily life in Cairo.


In the Empty Flat Upstairs, a Japanese woman, Keiko, has mastered Arabic but is driven crazy by her insistence on knowing the literal truth in a city which values hyperbole and exaggeration. In contrast, an Egyptian neighbor, Mona, becomes so obsessed with watching her foreign gay neighbor that she completely loses interest in her husband and her domestic responsibilities. Instead of watching soap operas, she hangs over the balcony, fascinated and shocked by what she sees. In the final story of the collection, Karalombos and Gary, two fugitives on the run, sneak back into Egypt on the 28th of January 2011, only to find Cairo turned upside down. They take care of the pets of those expatriates who have fled the country. To their surprise, they are even recruited to be actors in a reality television show about the Pyramids during the Egyptian Revolution.

About the author

Gretchen McCullough was raised in Harlingen Texas. After graduating from Brown University in 1984, she taught in Egypt Turkey and Japan. She earned her MFA from the University of Alabama and was awarded a teaching Fulbright to Syria from 1997-1999. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Texas Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Barcelona Review, Archipelago, National Public Radio, Storysouth, Storyglossia, and Guernica. Translations in English and Arabic with Mohamed Metwalli include: Nizwa, Banipal, Brooklynrail in Translation, Al-Mustaqbel. Her bi-lingual book of short stories in English and Arabic, Three Stories From Cairo, was published in July 2011 by AFAQ Publishing House, Cairo. Currently she is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at the American University in Cairo.