The Fascination of Evil
Winner of the Prix Interallié, Florian Zeller's The Fascination of Evil (La fascination du pire) is a thrillingly tense tale of murder, and a brilliant examination of Islam's relatinship with the West.
When the narrator receives an invitation to visit Egypt as the guest of the French Embassy in Cairo, he anticipates a boring week of literary discussions and official dinners. He certainly does not foresee the extraordinary events that will ultimately lead to murder. From the start, his fellow author—Martin Millet—seems determined to stir up the tensions that underlie the politeness of Egyptian society. He offends Islamic sensibilities with his views on art and the novel, and worse: his entire stay degenerates into an obsessive search for an Egyptian woman willing to have sex with him. The atmosphere is one of mutual mistrust, bordering on open dislike, not just between the Muslim world and the West, but also between the two authors. As the narrator finds himself dragged ever deeper into Millet's obsessions, he begins not only to fear for his own and Millet's safety, but for the future of Western civilisation. When Millet disappears, he inevitably fears the worst...
Translated by Sue Dyson
Cover illustration by Robert L Bracklow
Published 30 June 2008