He sheds some light on “where the borders of contrivance lie,”
Many people believe the novel’s protagonist is fact the author, but the truth is, I recited the story from a Christian friend who was detained in Palmyra prison on the charge of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. I mixed our stories together with stories of many others who had suffered inside the prison. There are many similar stories of these absurdities that led people to incarceration, and they would suffer from the bitterness of this experience for the rest of their lives.
He also had this to say about his former torturer:
SP: If you met your tormentor, how would you act?
MK: I encountered my worst tormentor while I was walking in the street; it was a little bit funny. He hugged me and I hugged him back, and honestly, I felt no grudge or hatred – which was a surprise. All that I felt then was how much he was confused and ashamed. Basically, everything personal vanishes in these moments, especially after a long time, and any inmate would see his tormentor as a victim, which he indeed is.
It is worth checking out the full interview.