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In Their Father's Country

by Anne-Marie Drosso

A colourful insight into life in cosmopolitan 20th century Cairo. The bittersweet relationship of two sisters - intelligent, complex women - is effectively narrated and you really appreciate their struggle to cling to their homes and livelihoods. The use of letters and flashbacks that keeps the reader focussed on the family story rather than be distracted by the wider social and political climate.

Extract

Nuni is the one who taught me how to pull out a daisy’s petals, one by one, saying, ‘He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me ….’ The first time we did this together, the flower said, ‘He loves you’ and I asked excitedly, ‘But who is he, Nuni?’ To which she replied, ‘All the men who will count in your life’. I then asked, with false innocence, ‘All the men? So there will be more than one?’ Her answer was categorical: ‘There will be only one you will truly love. As for all the others, you may believe for a little while you love them, but only one will remain locked in your heart forever.’

Parallels

Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany
Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
 

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