Former National Book Council President Mark Camilleri is set to debut his first novel, Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmien.
Camilleri, who is best known for A paradise for rent seekers – Malta’s number one best-seller and remains the best-selling local publication to this day – said the satirical novel represents “Ġaħanism » and the political decadence of our time.
“A story about Ġaħan in a Ġaħan country.”
Ġaħan is a popular and literary character whose roots stem from his Arabic counterpart Juha.
“Like the Maltese Ġaħan, Juha is an ignorant character who gets into funny situations. Juha and Ġaħan were popularized in children’s books and Ġaħan also evolved literaryly thanks to Francis Ebejer,” Camilleri said.
However, former Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewi unwittingly contributed to his revival after his conversations with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech were published by Camilleri himself in a blog post titled “Beware of carrier pigs of gifts”. In these discussions, Zammit Lewis referred to Labor voters as “Ġaħan”.
“Stupid Labor want patronage” – Zammit Lewis
“Zammit Lewis probably meant to refer to Labor voters who use their vote as a means of currying favors, but that’s ironic given that Edward Zammit Lewis’ insinuating behavior with Yorgen Fenech exposed him as the same Ġaħan he was referring to,” Camilleri said.
The former Labor Party member observed that in his exchange, Zammit Lewis ‘begged’ Fenech to meet and even told him he missed him, with the murder suspect ignoring him.
“With Yorgen Fenech, Zammit Lewis indulged himself the same way a Ġaħan would do to curry favor with a politician,” Camilleri said.
“If we are to use the same terminology of Prime Minister Robert Abela, Ġaħan must renew itself. Therefore, this novel presents the renewed Ġaħan who today is called Dustin.
There are several factors that make Dustin Ġaħan. He is cowardly, lazy, alienated, comical and a bit ignorant, although today’s Ġaħan is rather smarter.
Ġaħan is also a representation of the country itself and the country has evolved since then and become smarter although it has also become a danger to itself, the author said in a statement ahead of the launch.
The title of the book also recalls Labour’s 2017 election slogan, L-Aqwa Żmien.
Camilleri’s first novel will be available in all bookstores from July 19.
Zammit Lewis chats with Fenech after describing Busuttil as a ‘threat’
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