The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist

original artworkssee 1970's section

The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist

Book by Emile Habibi

The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist (Arabic: الوقائع الغريبة في اختفاء سعيد أبي النحس المتشائل‎) is a 1974 satirical fiction book by Emile Habibi.[1] It addressed the issue of lack of creativity in Arabic literature at the time by being satirical. [2]

The name comes merging the Arabic words for pessimist (al-mutasha’im المتشائم) and optimist (al-mutafa’il المتفائل).[3]

Habibi used a comic mode to mitigate the intensity of his world in Israel and to make the story easier for readers to understand which would have been difficult to through a normal historical narrative.[3] Habiby shows his resistance against the Israeli policies of oppression with Arabic literary expressions and traditions.[4]


The story begins with a fool named Saeed who is visited by people from outer space who tells of his life in Israel through a letter. He wishes to cooperate with the Israelis. However, he goes to prison multiple times and is assaulted by the guards.

source: Wikipedia

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