The new book from Alaa Al Aswany, author of the international bestseller `The Yacoubian Building' and `Chicago'. `Friendly Fire' is a novella and collection of short stories from Alaa Al Aswany, author of the bestselling `The Yacoubian Building'. As in that novel, Al Aswany dissects modern Egyptian society and, with skill and detachment, reveals the hypocrisy, violence and abuse of power characteristic of a world in moral crisis. Here, though, the focus has shifted from the broad historical canvas to the minute stitches of pain that hold together an individual, a family, a school classroom and the relationship between a man and a woman. Can a man so alienated from his society that he regards all its members as no better than microbes wriggling under a microscope survive within it? Can cynical religiosity triumph over human decency? Can a man put the thought of a delicious dish of beans behind him long enough to mourn his father's death? Alongside these wry questions, other, less mordant perspectives also have their place: an ageing cabaret dancer bestows the blessing of a vanished world on her lover's son; a crippled boy wins subjective victory from objective disaster. In `Friendly Fire', readers will find again the vivid, passionate characters of today's Cairo, clamouring to be heard. `Friendly Fire' also features an introduction by Alaa Al Aswany giving the history of the novella, `The Isam Abd el-Ati Papers', which was banned in Egypt for a decade.