A Forger in Cairo

13 02 2008


Just imagine the following, you are a British writer with international fame and you hear from a friend that your book has been selling well in Cairo. This sounds innocent enough right? There is only one problem with this story – you actually did not write the book! This is exactly what happened to Robert Fisk. To get to the heart of the problem, Robert Fisk himself went to Cairo hoping to find out who the forger was. What followed was a wild goose chase from point A to point B to point C and so on and do forth. Robert Fisk’s recounting of the events is funny in its own strange ways. Here is an excerpt:

There was a slim, cigarette-smoking Egyptian in a yellow smoking jacket with black velvet lapels blocking the doorway. “I want to buy a book,” I said softly, the winning smile – I’m afraid – of an undercover policeman suffusing my face. There were two tough, beefy men inside, shop assistants as you’ve never seen them before. I asked for a well-known volume on the life of Saddam Hussein.

“By Robert Fisk?” I was asked.

“Why yes, the very one!”

I followed one of the beefy men upstairs to the “Saddam Hussein biography” section. At which point, he darted back downstairs and retrieved the book from a secret pile behind the counter. “Thirty Egyptian pounds,” he said. I paid. Yes, I paid the equivalent of £2.86 for a book with my name on it which I never wrote.