Notes on Youssef Rakha’s “The Crocodiles”

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg, the US Beat poet, to his “The Lion for Real,” signed “Paris, March, 1958.” Opening Rakha’s book, one finds a hand drawn map labeled “The…