When Shehab, a young software designer, runs afoul of a loan shark, all avenues of escape in Mubarak’s corrupt, chaotic Egypt seem to be closed to him. Getting help from the bank is impossible without connections, and Shehab's uncle abroad wants nothing to do with his troubles. A powerful businessman offers assistance, but the next day Shehab sees him being stabbed in an alley—and the man's dying words suggest a conspiracy extending to the upper reaches of the regime.
Angry and broke, Shehab enlists his friend Mustafa in a bank heist—and falls into a vortex of financial and political corruption. On the run with a case full of money and evidence of murder, the two careen through Cairo's metro system, evading the police and the thugs who are out in force to crush antigovernment protests. The only allies who can help get them out of this mess, the friends realize, are a blind shoe-shine man and a muckraking journalist.
In art as pulsing and immediate as Cairo itself, Magdy El Shafee has delivered a prescient portrait of a crumbling society and Egypt's coming eruption. A powerful story of young men with nothing left to lose, Metro sounds the cry for a better, freer future.
A Story of Cairo
Magdy El Shafee, translated by Chip Rossetti