The basic content deals with suppression of individuality by a repressive dictatorship, in which fear is transmuted into adoration of a leader. Daily marches, posters, banners, blaring TV sets—all are organized expressions of the people’s thanks and adulation of a dictator who makes little contribution to their welfare. People are required to pledge not only fealty to but love for a ruthless dictator. The first part of the book evokes the worshipful public demonstrations of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or today’s North Korea. They are outpourings of organized homage in which the novel’s hero, Fathi, refuses to participate. Until he is presented with an intolerable dilemma, his major coping strategy, like that of his lover, Lama, has been ridicule and laughter at the excesses of the regime.