A tale of post-revolutionary disillusionment from the winner of the first Arabic Booker Award In Egypt a new era has dawned, but the dawn has taken an ominous turn. President Gamal Abdel Nasser has just proclaimed the first in a series of nationalization decrees, the stock exchange has shut down, and its parking attendant, Sayyid, is staring at penury. Across the street, the office of the Ministry’s Supervisory Board of Administrative Organization is engulfed in an eerie silence, and the narrator, one of the two remaining fulltime occupants of that nearly defunct government office, has fallen desperately in love with the other, Doha—forceful, erudite, and, a complete enigma, with a spiritual bond to the Egyptian goddess Aset.
In this sophisticated, richly textured novel the author explores such themes as apathy and despair, courage and self-sacrifice, ambition and temptation, disillusionment and political faith, and, above all, commitment and betrayal.
Bahaa Taher is the author of Love in Exile (AUC Press, paperback edition 2005). In 2008 he was awarded the first International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the ‘Arabic Booker’).
Peter Daniel, a freelance translator, has taught Arabic as a foreign language in Cairo for many years.