I Do Not Sleep

Ihsan Abdel Kouddous
Translated by Jonathan Smolin


A story of betrayal, desire, and family drama, written by a giant of Egyptian popular fiction who shocked readers in the 1950s when this Lolita-esque novel first appeared and whose work has never before been available in English

Sixteen-year-old Nadia had been raised by her father, after her parents divorced when she was only a baby. Indulged and petulant, she remained the only female in her father’s life. But when she returns from boarding school to find that he has remarried without her knowledge, she conspires to restore her rightful place, creating misery, confusion, and a flood of unexpected consequences in her wake.

Written as a letter, a confession, by now twenty-one-year old Nadia, Ihsan Abdel Kouddous’s classic novel of revenge and betrayal challenges patriarchal norms with its strong female characters and brazen sexuality, and continues to speak to the complex human condition. It dives into middle-class life, and lays bare the repressed desires, seething jealousies, and complicated dramas of family.

Abdel Kouddous’s masterpiece I Do Not Sleep was adapted into a classic of Egyptian cinema in 1957, and its publication for the first time in English is an international publishing event.


'[One] of the best new works from around the world"—The Irish Times

"Fresh, unpretentious and irresistibly cinematic"―ArabLit

"Abdel Kouddous enriched Egyptian literature and cinema with everlasting works"―Egypt Today

“Ihsan is an artist”―Tawfik al-Hakim, author of Return of the Spirit

“Abdel Kouddous enriched the world of Arab culture.”―Sky News Arabia

“What sets Ihsan Abdel Kouddous apart is his ability to combine, on the page, the different overlapping threads of politics and society.”―Al-Shorouk

“The novel I Do Not Sleep represents a turning point in Ihsan Abdel Kouddous’s narratorial style.”―Hafriyat



Ihsan Abdel Kouddous

Ihsan Abdel Kouddous (1919–90) is one of the most prolific and popular writers of Arabic fiction of the twentieth century. Born in Cairo, Egypt, Abdel Kouddous graduated from law school in 1942 but left his law practice to pursue a long and successful career in journalism. He was an editor at the daily Al-Akhbar, the weekly Rose al-Yusuf, and was editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram. The author of dozens of books, his controversial writings and political views landed him in jail more than once.

Jonathan Smolin is the Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies at Dartmouth College in the US. He is the author of Moroccan Noir: Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture (2013), and the translator of several works of Arabic fiction. He lives in Hanover, NH.

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  • December 7th 2021
  • $19.95 / £14.99 / LE300
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781649030986

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