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From the best-selling author of The Map of Love, here is a bracing firsthand account of the Egyptian revolution--told with the narrative instincts of a novelist, the gritty insights of an activist, and the long perspective of a native Cairene. Since January 25, 2011, when thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime, Ahdaf Soueif--author, journalist, and lifelong progressive--has been among the revolutionaries who have shaken Egypt to its core. In this deeply personal work, Soueif summons her storytelling talents to trace the trajectory of her nation's ongoing transformation. She writes of the passion, confrontation, and sacrifice that she witnessed in the historic first eighteen days of uprising--the bravery of the youth who led the revolts and the jubilation in the streets at Mubarak's departure. Later, the cityscape was ablaze with political graffiti and street screenings, and with the journalistic and organizational efforts of activists--including Soueif and her family. In the weeks and months after those crucial eighteen days, we watch as Egyptians fight to preserve and advance their revolution--even as the interim military government, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, throws up obstacles at each step. She shows us the council delaying abdication of power, undermining efforts toward democracy, claiming ownership of the revolution while ignoring its martyrs. We see elections held and an Islamist voted into power. At each scene, Soueif gives us her view from the ground--brave, intelligent, startlingly immediate. Against this stormy backdrop, she interweaves memories of her own Cairo--the balcony of her aunt's flat, where, as a child, she would watch the open-air cinema; her first job, as an actor on a children's sitcom; her mother's family land outside the city, filled with fruit trees and palm groves, in sight of the pyramids. In so doing, she affirms the beauty and resilience of this ancient and remarkable city. The book ends with a postscript that considers Egypt's more recent turns: the shifts in government, the ongoing confrontations between citizen and state, and a nation's difficult but deeply inspiring path toward its great, human aims--bread, freedom, and social justice. In these pages, Soueif creates an illuminating snapshot of an event watched by the world--the outcome of which continues to be felt across the globe.
In these selected stories from her collections Aisha and Sandpiper, Ahdaf Soueif writes about love and displacement in prose that is delicately nuanced and acutely observed. These are achingly lyrical stories, resonant and richly woven. But they always retain an edginess as they explore areas of tension - where women and men are ensnared by cultural and social mores and prescribed notions of 'love', where the place you are is not the place you want to be. She delivers her characters with infinite tenderness and compassion as they inhabit a world of lost opportunities, unfulfilled love and remembrance of times past.
Set amidst the turmoil of contemporary Middle Eastern politics, this vivid and highly-acclaimed novel by an Egyptian journalist is an intimate look into the lives of Arab women today. Here, a woman who grows up among the Egyptian elite, marries a Westernized husband, and, while pursuing graduate study, becomes embroiled in a love affair with an uncouth Englishman. (From the Trade Paperback edition.)
Booker Prize Finalist"Sweeping and evocative--. An unconventional love story."--The Times (London)With her first novel, In the Eye of the Sun, Ahdaf Soueif garnered comparisons to Tolstoy, Flaubert, and George Eliot. In her latest novel, which was shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize, she combines the romantic skill of the nineteenth-century novelists with a very modern sense of culture and politics--both sexual and international. At either end of the twentieth century, two women fall in love with men outside their familiar worlds. In 1901, Anna Winterbourne, recently widowed, leaves England for Egypt, an outpost of the Empire roiling with nationalist sentiment. Far from the comfort of the British colony, she finds herself enraptured by the real Egypt and in love with Sharif Pasha al-Baroudi. Nearly a hundred years later, Isabel Parkman, a divorced American journalist and descendant of Anna and Sharif has fallen in love with Omar al-Ghamrawi, a gifted and difficult Egyptian-American conductor with his own passionate politics. In an attempt to understand her conflicting emotions and to discover the truth behind her heritage, Isabel, too, travels to Egypt, and enlists Omar's sister's help in unravelling the story of Anna and Sharif's love.Joining the romance and intricate storytelling of A.S. Byatt's Possession and Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, Ahdaf Soueif has once again created a mesmerizing tale of genuine eloquence and lasting importance.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the bestselling author, an incisive collection of essays on Arab identity, art, and politics that seeks to locate the mezzaterra, or common ground, in an increasingly globalized world. The twenty-five years' worth of criticism and commentary collected here have earned Ahdaf Soueif a place among our most prominent Arab intellectuals. Clear-eyed and passionate, and syndicated throughout the world, they are the direct result of Soueif's own circumstances of being "like hundreds of thousands of others: people with an Arab or a Muslim background doing daily double-takes when faced with their reflection in a western mirror." Whether an account of visiting Palestine and entering the Noble Sanctuary for the first time, an interpretation of women who choose to wear the veil, or her post--September 11 reflections, Soueif's intelligent, fearless, deeply informed essays embody the modern search for identity and community.
Starting in 1970, Jean Genet--petty thief, prostitute, modernist master--spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Always an outcast himself, Genet was drawn to this displaced people, an attraction that was to prove as complicated for him as it was enduring. Prisoner of Love, written some ten years later, when many of the men Genet had known had been killed, and he himself was dying, is a beautifully observed description of that time and those men as well as a reaffirmation of the author's commitment not only to the Palestinian revolution but to rebellion itself. For Genet's most overtly political book is also his most personal--the last step in the unrepentantly sacrilegious pilgrimage first recorded in The Thief's Journal, and a searching meditation, packed with visions, ruses, and contradictions, on such life-and-death issues as the politics of the image and the seductive and treacherous character of identity. Genet's final masterpiece is a lyrical and philosophical voyage to the bloody intersection of oppression, terror, and desire at the heart of the contemporary world.
On October 7th 2001, US-led forces invaded Afghanistan, marking the start of George Bush and Tony Blair's "War on Terror." Six years on, where have the policies of Bush and Blair left us?
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