Translated from the French, this is the second book by a young Egyptian novelist which is presented in the pocketsize format of the ""Direction Series"". In a succession of unlovely street scenes and characters, this portrays the ""limitless ugliness of life"" in an Egyptian city slum- and it couldn't be uglier. The narrative, such as it is, concerns the tenants of the venal landlord, Si Khalil, as obsessed by the fear that their house will collapse, they attempt to bring pressure against him, personal and official. And it is Si Khalil himself who is ultimately haunted by the horror of the house and faces the vengeance of an insurgent people. A danse cabre of decay and degradation, there's a certain symbolism here and a universality of implication- for a very doubtful audience of avant-gardists.