Cossery’s heroes are usually dandies and thieves, unfettered by possessions or obligations; impoverished but aristocratic idlers who can suck the marrow of joy from the meager bones life tosses their way. They are the descendants of Baudelaire’s flâneur, of the Surrealists with their rejection of the sacrosanct work ethic, of the Situationists and their street-theater shenanigans, not to mention the peripatetic Beats or the countercultural ‘dropouts’ of the 1960s. Henry Miller, who raised dolce far niente to an art form, praised Cossery’s writing as ‘rare, exotic, haunting, unique.’ Whether Cossery’s merry pranksters wish merely to have a good time or, as in The Jokers, to wage an all-out campaign of raillery against the powers that be, there is one belief they all share: the only true recourse against a world governed by ‘scoundrels’ is an utter disregard for convention, including the convention of taking anything seriously.
—from a review by Mark Polizzotti of Albert Cossery’s work in The Nation. With new “scoundrels” being voted on in the recent Egyptian election, Cossery provides his readers with a lighter, more surreal look at politics and life in the streets of Cairo.