Zein and his friends spend their entire time numbed by alcohol, drugs and anti-depressants. Coming from extremely wealthy yet broken families could have served as a cliché yet in Ghost Factory all clichés are over thrown by a new kind of insight into the screwed minds of this existent group of youth. Zein and his friends live in no-man’s-land, feet lifted from the ground, like ghosts, they just exist without any passion or love for themselves, unable for compassion or any form of emotion. Drugged and each bearing the cross of negligence, financial saturation and broken homes, they seem to co-exist like shadows. Reading Ghost Factory is like secretively going through someone’s diary wanting to reach the end only to see what will eventually happen. But nothing will happen, the end is as open as the vicious circle of self-destruction Zein and his friends are stuck in. Reading Ghost Factory is rather like experiencing Zein’s trips and almost being contaminated with their depressions. You want to slap them sober and yell at them to get their act together and stop victimizing themselves. Throughout the book one tries to identify to what extent to pity or despise Zein and his posse. "This story is not about putting a generation on the stand, it is rather pointing out a shocking state of acquaintances that I have made during my stay in Cairo and in that community. It is a group of that generation that is definitely not representative, yet it exists. Many of the characters are inspired by real characters" Al Lawzy comments, "but rather a set of different characters melted I one". "I was once asked who the villain in the plot is and I believe the parents are with their lack of presence in their children’s lives", he adds. There is no autobiographic dimension to Ghost Factory or its protagonists to the author, "Zein is an unbearable character, they are all damaged, some more than others and some more aware of their damage, but the bottom-line is mere entertainment by any means", Ghaith explains. His intentions are not to redeem a generation but to report without judgment and solutions. The idea is that no one will pull you out, Zein and his friends must do that on their own. The authors message is not a call for help yourself no one else will, it is about the destructive ways of materialism. "The more material you have in your hand, the less material you have inside, that’s what is scary and makes you a ghost" Al Lawzy comments.
Ghaith Al Lawzy, a Jordanian, who picked Cairo as his second home for a long time. During his stay in Cairo, where he studied at the American University, Al Lawzy got inspired by Cairo‘s many stories. He took on writing during his studies and after finishing his Master Degree, he began writing his first novel. Currently he is a nomad wandering the Arab world for inspiration working on a new novel set in the Lebanon during the civil war.
It is sad to realize on my part that these Ghosts do exist, drifting afar from all the social, political and economical problems of modern Egypt and its people. It is definitely worth a read.
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