Translated from the Arabic by Barbara Romaine
—Roger Allen, author of The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction
Shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize in 2010, this finely constructed epic traces the turbulent life of Aisha, an Egyptian girl raised in a Christian convent beyond the reach of a predatory uncle. With her English education, Aisha crosses paths with Lord Cromer, British consul-general of Egypt, and famed archaeologist Howard Carter, with whom she will trek to locate Tutankhamen’s tomb. Fate briefly favors Aisha when she falls in love with the Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mukhtar, until events conspire to move her life along a darker path.
Part allegory, part magical realism, this novel is threaded with aspects of Egyptian antiquity, including semihistorical accounts of the excavations of ancient Egyptian relics and the tortured jealousies that accompanied them. A deftly written journey through momentous occasions in world history, A Cloudy Day on the Western Shore explores questions of Egypt’s identity and history, and the implications—for better or worse—of European exploitation of the treasures of pharaonic civilization. Novelist Qandil skillfully allows readers to encounter complex questions of colonialism, gender, and sectarianism—all through the symbolic lens of an unlikely Egyptian heroine.
Paper $34.95 9780815611097