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The Blue Manuscript

by Sabiha Al Khemir

An archaeological team travels to a remote village in western Egypt in search of the Blue Manuscript. The practical difficulties of the dig, the conflicting aspirations of the team members and their uneasy relationship with the villagers all conspire to threaten the project. A challenging read that questions meaningful communication between different cultures and faiths. If you're interested in archaeology or Islamic culture, give this a try.

Extract

The Tree of Wishes lay on its side, a corpse waiting to be buried, the ribbons of its branches now mere shreds of meaningless cloth that had simply wounded the garments from which they had been ripped. Amm Gaber sat in the dark, listening to silence. The whole site, a cemetery. A series of dug-up tombs. 'This is the last time you will hear my words, O Tree of trees,' said the old man, 'you, my one and only listener.'

Parallels

Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
The Mamur Zapt and the Spoils of Egypt by Michael Pearce
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
 

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