This new release is a startlingly original piece of creativity. Your Wish Is My Command by Egyptian author Deena Mohamed is a 500-page hardback debut graphic novel of extraordinary illustrative and literary skill, as emotionally engaging as it is eye-opening. The story is set in an alternative modern Cairo where wishes are real and are bought and sold in a controlled market. There are three categories of wishes, first class being rare and powerful, third class common and unreliable. Mohamed’s tale is in three parts, each concerning a central character who has to decide what to do with their wish.
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Aziza is faced with bureaucracy and state control when she is widowed and tries to execute her wish. Nour is a college student struggling with anxiety and depression, who prevaricates about the best thing to do with the wish they’ve bought. Then there’s the elderly shopkeeper Shokry, who struggles with his religious convictions when trying to use his wish to help a friend.
The moral conundrums of the wishers reverberate far beyond their own situations. Doing the right thing is never easy, and this powerful debut confronts that reality head on with style and confidence.
Your Wish Is My Command by Deena Mohamed is out on January 10 (Granta, £19.99).You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.
Doug Johnstone is a writer and musician