It is the most diverse species on the planet and it inhabits the polluted, unforgiving streets of Cairo, a city that simply refuses to stand still. The taxi driver is an urban omnivore whose high-speed colours, habits and moods reflect all surrounding life, and yet pass it by, in the bustling flora and fauna of the Egyptian capital. Khaled Al Khamissi's "Taxi" is a remarkable journey into the lives and labyrinths of this beast of burden that has become a best-selling modern masterpiece in the author's home country. "Taxi" brings together 58 fictional monologues with Cairo cabbies recreated from the author's own experience of traversing the city. The experience takes the reader on a roller-coaster of emotions as bumpy and noisy as the city's potholed and chaotic streets.Described as an urban sociology, an ethnography, a classic of oral history - and a work of poetry in motion - "Taxi" tells Herculean tales of the struggle for survival and dignity among Greater Cairo's 80,000 cab drivers. A wing-mirror that reflects both on modern Egypt and on the human condition, it plucks from the rush-hour sandstorm a feast of drivers' recollections, memories, personal stories, lies, loves, hates, dreams and philosophical adventures.Translated by Jonathan Wright, "Taxi" is a unique work combining the authentic insights of the man on the street with the poignant self-reflections of members of a caste who have little or nothing in common. Written in a rich colloquial that departs with a slam of a dented door from the literary language Egyptian writers commonly employ, it has been credited with reviving an interest in reading as it has become an instant best-seller, topping the sales charts in Arabic-speaking markets. "Taxi" will be released to the English market to co-incide with Arab countries being the market focus of the 2008 London Book Fair.