Arabic Literature
English edition  
Nov  2013
288 pp.
Paperback
15X23 cm
$19.95
LE100
ISBN 978 977 416 620 4
For sale worldwide

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House of the Wolf

An Egyptian Novel Ezzat El Kamhawi
Translated by Nancy Roberts

A sweeping saga of generations of a rural Egyptian family and the history of the wider Egypt that affects their lives, winner of the 2012 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

Winner of the 2012 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, this novel is set in an idyllic Egyptian village from the time it was discovered by Muhammad Ali’s mission in the early nineteenth century to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, movingly intertwining events on the world scene with the life dramas of its protagonists. The story opens with the pivotal character, Mubarka al-Fuli, now a grandmother and matriarch, wanting to dictate a letter to God for her grandson to send to the Almighty by email. We are then ushered back in time to Mubarka’s fiery adolescence and her painfully aborted romance with Muntasir, son of the village’s deceased but legendary strongman. The shifting fortunes of the al-Deeb clan affect every aspect of its members’ lives, from their sexual vulnerabilities to the grief of loss, the uncertainties of a changing world, and the heartaches born of betrayal, and love unfulfilled.

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Ezzat El Kamhawi, an Egyptian novelist and journalist, was born in 1961 and studied journalism at Cairo University. He is the editor-in-chief of al-Doha Cultural Magazine. He is the author of ten books, including four novels and two collections of short stories. Nancy Roberts is the translator of Salwa Bakr’s The Man from Bashmour (AUC Press, 2007), for which she received a commendation in the Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Translation. Her most recent translations are Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Time of White Horses (AUC Press, 2012), and Abdulaziz Al Farsi’s Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs (AUC Press, 2013).

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“Despite its breadth of vision, the novel manages to balance both sides of the equation—the quirky and sometimes explosive developments in personal relationships within the family and the sudden and often devastating interventions of life outside the village—to create an intricate dynamic that captures much of the essence of the country’s recent experience.” —Humphrey Davies, Mahfouz Medal Award Committee “In this beautifully crafted novel, there are luminous moments where history literally arrives at a village swept by more than a century of colonial rule, revolutions, and wars. In its evocation of imagined history and fictive events, the novel . . . invites us to reflect on the boundaries that separate the village from modernity, fiction from history, and art from life.” —Tahia Abdel Nasser, Mahfouz Medal Award Committee

"An absorbing and kaleidoscopic retelling of Egyptian history from Ottoman rule to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ezzat El Kamhawi provides a haunting glimpse into complex, tangled lives silenced by official histories. . . . [His] prose is lean, understated and often poetic, and his writing owes as much to oral storytelling as to the traditions of the novel. His mode of address is often mythic, sometimes magical."—Alev Adil, Times Literary Supplement   Click here to read the complete review.

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