The love/hate relationship with Ahmed Mourad’s “Deer-hunting Season”

Only the brave, curious, and daring would walk down the road not-taken, and best-selling author Ahmed Mourad, we can safely say, has been all three. In his all new novel “Deer-hunting Season – موسم صيد الغزلان”, Mourad rushes us into the unknown future in a work of science-fiction, revealing what would be our inevitable fate. The outcome is a number of well-calculated political, societal and humanitarian assumptions that prove that this reputable novelist has done his homework. It is a world of cold emotions where social relations are technologized enough to create unbreakable distances between humans.

Augmented reality, robots and reincarnation will wow you enough, and that is the bate that Mourad first throws for you to catch until you are officially hooked. Then comes the hard part; where you get offered to watch a live-stream going on in the protagonist’s head, “Nadim”. We see from a rather harsh perspective how some men view women, and Mourad does not go easy on us! Yes, he will make you read long pages of absolute sexualizing and objectifying of women, as he visualizes the character “Talya” pushing you to the point of hate for the pure sexist of a male character that he has so masterfully created. Just when you are mouthing to yourself that not all men are “Nadim”, he will have you know that all men are “Antara” who cheated on the “Abla” with more than 30 women after he almost sacrificed his own life to marry her!

“I don’t want to read one more word about the perfect curves of Talya” you will tell yourself right before you put the book aside for a bit.

But you do know that a reopening is most certainly inevitable. Why is Mourad promoting sexist ideas? What is he trying to get at? The number one best-selling author, we believe, was trying to traumatize women into an awareness of what might be going on in the minds of some men, before he could move on with his novel’s major plot-twist. But Mourad, we will have you know that we are no deer in the jungle you constructed, or any jungle for that matter!

“He will make you read long pages of absolute sexualizing and objectifying of women, as he visualizes the character ‘Talya'”

Photography: Ahmed Saad

The speedy departure from reality, sanity and everything we hold as truth grants Mourad enough space to play with our minds. If you think that sexism is the only thought-provoking aspect of the novel, wait and read more! In a war-on-two-fronts fashion, this ever-controversial novelist also engages in long and comprehensive arguments and debates about the existence of a God, tackling atheism in an anarchic world; something that has encouraged a lot of public assumptions about the writer’s faiths and personal beliefs. However, works like that, that poke all bears, force us to think about what we refer to as “constants” and challenges all beliefs that are taken for granted. It leaves us with endless questions; in a society that feels most comfortable identifying itself as “religious”. How scared are we to acknowledge contrasting ideologies?

The end remains as dramatic as any of Mourad’s work, with a lot of reveals that will satisfy your reader-thirst. Mourad’s sixth work in a now 10-year writing career is a movie on paper, with a lot of visualization and sensation jumping out of its lines. We recommend that you fasten your seatbelts, because Egypt’s top-selling novelist does not settle for scratching the surface but rather digs deep. There is no room for temporary justifications, band-aids, or painkillers on board of this novel. You are going to come out of it questioning everything. “You either believe, or you believe that you do not believe.”

Watch the official music video of the novel here:



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