Kapow! – Arab Spring Madness in a Frantic Novel

Books, Arab Spring, literature, Kapow!, lifestyle, culture, Middle EastIn ways both understood and yet to be discovered, the Arab Spring has changed us. All of us. Having finally tapped their personal and collective power through social media and community engagement, youth in the region are taking their creative, environmental and intellectual lives back into their own hands. But the unfolding of this process is not simple.

Nor is it linear, and it is this notion that informs Kapow! – a fast and frantic novel  by Adam Thirlwell. Tracing twitter accounts, citizen anecdotes and other news sources during the Arab Spring uprisings, a London-based character attempts to put the events in perspective. As the narrative becomes more confused, so does the text, which takes on an unconventional visual form.

Books, Arab Spring, literature, Kapow!, lifestyle, culture, Middle East

The book, according to the publishers Visual Editions, is “Set in the thick of the Arab Spring, [and] guided by the high-speed monologue of an unnamed narrator — over-doped, over-caffeinated, overweight — trying to make sense of this history in real time.”

Thirlwell corresponded with the book’s designer Firth Kerr before he even began to write the novel. They come up with a design that incorporates accordion-styled foldouts that permit 12 inch long blocks of text and unusual visual representations of the conceptual and narrative madness, including wild digressions, paragraphs flipped on their side and short blocks of text in corners.

Books, Arab Spring, literature, Kapow!, lifestyle, culture, Middle East

“A clever, funny, and bitingly critical cultural commentary, it uses spinning digressions to tell the stories of a group of interconnected characters in London and Egypt, each transformed by the idea of revolution,” says Visual Editions, who add that “Kapow! asks readers to open and unfold pages, to follow text leaking in and out of paragraphs, while progressively becoming part of and lost within the narrator’s giddy digressions.”

Books, Arab Spring, literature, Kapow!, lifestyle, culture, Middle East

Although such a reading experience may seem like desperately unrelaxing, Creative Review claims that it is actually easier to digest than it sounds. Fastco Design, meanwhile, claims that this may be the very first novel to accurately depict how we process information in the digital age.

To experience the Arab Spring uprisings again, but differently, please visit Visual Editions to purchase your very own copy of Kapow

More on Lifestyle, Culture and the Arab Spring:

The Origin of Earth Day and Greening the Arab Spring

Arab Spring Female Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize 

#Occupy Climate Change: The Arab Spring and Wall St. Occupy Movement

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One thought on “Kapow! – Arab Spring Madness in a Frantic Novel”

  1. Hala says:

    The Arabic Spring followed the Lebanese spring, which happened during the massive peaceful marches of 1989. That year showed the Lebanese rejecting the so-called civil war that a corrupt government and 2 occupation forces were using as cover, and adopting a strong national identity. 1989 was the onset of the Lebanese citizenry movement, now a block in parliament and demanding the separation of religion and state, and civil law in Lebanon, the first of the middle east. The spark that started it all, in 1989 is documented in the book by French reporter Daniel Rondeau, “Chroniques d’un Liban rebel”: http://www.amazon.fr/Chronique-du-Liban-rebelle-1988-1990/dp/2246446414

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