|Language Arabic||Media type Book|
|Translators Trevor LeGassick, Salma Jayyusi|
Similar Men in the Sun, Beirut Nightmares, The Secret Life of Saeed - th, Season of Migration to the North, Cities of Salt
The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist (Arabic: الوقائع الغريبة في اختفاء سعيد أبي النحس المتشائل) is a 1974 satirical fiction book by Emile Habibi. It addressed the issue of lack of creativity in Arabic literature at the time by being satirical.
The name comes merging the Arabic words for pessimist (al-mutasha'im المتشائم) and optimist (al-mutafa'il المتفائل).
Habibi used a comic mode to mitigate the intensity of his world in Israel and to make the story easier for readers to understand which would have been difficult to through a normal historical narrative. Habiby shows his resistance against the Israeli policies of oppression with Arabic literary expressions and traditions.
The story begins with a fool named Saeed who is visited by people from outer space who tells of his life in Israel through a letter. He wishes to cooperate with the Israelis. However, he goes to prison multiple times and is assaulted by the guards.
The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist has caused the reaction of literary criticism by many scholars. Nancy Coffin says the success of The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist "lies in its ability to straddle the expectations of both acceptable politics and good literature and, perhaps even more important, the fine lines between military response and political solution."