Fiction in Translation
English edition  
February  2004
224 pp.
11 line drawings 
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$16.95
LE100
ISBN 9789774248108
For sale worldwide

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Farewell to Alexandria

Eleven Short Stories Harry E. Tzalas
Translated by Susan E. Mantouvalou
Illustrated by Anna Boghiguian

New paperback edition

The eleven short stories in this book take us back to an Alexandria past, the cosmopolitan city as it was experienced by the author in the years before, during, and following the Second World War. Against a backdrop of major events in Alexandria’s history, from the halcyon days of the late 1930s, through the alarums of the War, to the 1952 Revolution and the dispersion of almost the entire foreign community of the city, Tzalas weaves his stories peopled with characters from his youth. These are ordinary people, people of different nationalities and faiths, but all Alexandrians, living side by side in the Great City. In describing each character with great sensitivity and perception, Tzalas succeeds not only in capturing the essence of the city itself, but in poignantly foretelling the fundamental changes and exodus that were to come. The events surrounding, among others, a German family caught in the city during the Second World War, three French monks, an old Greek musician, and a group of cultivated elderly Alexandrian gentlemen, are told with an affection often tinged with sadness. Through these characters, Tzalas tells the story of everyday lives caught up in the turbulent currents of history and the transformation of a beloved city—the end of an era. Each of the eleven stories is accompanied by an evocative illustration by Anna Boghiguian.
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Harry Tzalas was born and educated in Alexandria. In 1956, he emigrated with his family to Brazil before settling in Greece. He is the founder and president of the Hellenic Institute for Ancient and Medieval Alexandrian Studies, based in Athens. Anna Boghiguian is one of Egypt’s foremost contemporary artists. She has illustrated editions of Constantine Cavafy and Giuseppe Ungaretti. She lives in Cairo and Montreal. She is the author of Anna’s Egypt: An Artist’s Journey (AUC Press, 2003).

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"Tzalas has a real affection for 'the last great cosmopolitan center of the Mediterranean.' He portrays pre-revolution Alexandria through the lives of ordinary citizens, Arab and foreign, and is helped in the task by illustrations from an artist—herself a member of one of Egypt's remaining foreign communities—whose very personal style hints at her subject matter rather than attempting to depict it explicitly."—Cairo Times

"The implications of Farewell to Alexandria reach beyond the fate of Alexandria to challenge the most fundamental assumptions that currently underlie the whole of civilization. As such, it is a masterpiece."—Egyptian Reporter

"By telling the superbly poignant stories of 11 very different people, Harry Tzalas manages to resurrect the beloved metropolis, weaving together colorful threads of individuality to create a vivid tableau of collective memories."—Egypt Today

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