‘Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmien’, Mark Camilleri’s first novel, will be released in July

Mark Camilleri’s debut novel is out July 19, with a fictional assault on the political establishment titled Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmienridiculing Labour’s 2017 election slogan.

The satirical novel represents “Ġaħanism” and the political decadence of the time, what Camilleri – author of the political polemic “A Rentseekers’ Paradeise” – calls a story about Ġaħan in a Ġaħan country.

The popular and literary character of Ġaħan stems from its Arabic equivalent called Joha. Like the Maltese Ġaħan, Joha is an ignorant character who finds himself in comical situations. Both Joha and Ġaħan were popularized in children’s books and Ġaħan also evolved literaryly thanks to Francis Ebejer.

“Today Ġaħan has been popularly revived thanks to Edward Żammit Lewis, a former cabinet minister under Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela, who described Labor voters as ‘Ġaħan’ in a message he sent to Yorgen Fenech .

“With his reference to Ġaħan, Żammit 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 the exhibited as the same Ġaħan he was referring to,” 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.

Dustin is cowardly, lazy, alienated, comical and a little ignorant, although Camilleri says today’s Ġaħan is rather smarter.

“Ġaħan is also a representation of the country itself and the country has evolved since then, and has become smarter although it has also become a danger to itself,” says Camilleri.

“Ġaħan’s stories are metaphorical like when he licks a politician’s anus and that’s because Ġaħan himself is inherently servile. Ġaħan’s favorite activity is eating and it is also metaphorical as his ultimate goal in life is consumption as he struggles to have a higher purpose in life.

Irene B. Bowles