Synopses & Reviews
"Set in 1970s Alexandria, Egypt, Meguid's deeply satisfying new novel (after No One Sleeps in Alexandria) chronicles a brief but significant period in the life of Shagara Muhammad Ã¢Â€Â˜Ali. At the shipyard where he works, one of his duties is getting workers to cheer at official demonstrations for foreign dignitaries, including Richard Nixon. He pays the workers half of what was promised, participating in a small way in the country's rampant corruption. After work he plays backgammon in a cafe with friends and returns home to his widowed mother. There is political unrest in Egypt and Shagara is swept into a demonstration led by the charismatic Sayyid Birsho. But Shagara's main preoccupation lies outside politics: 'I was on a quest for women, women's scents, sweat, lips, breasts, and I was thinking of buying a color television set in order to look at their warm flesh.' When Shagara's friend, Hassanayn, gets married, Shagara is extremely impressed by his wife, Ibtihal, and soon realizes that happiness will only be realized by a marriage of his own. Meguid's novel is richly atmospheric and has a splendid sense of both place and time; readers not only observe the intricate lives of these characters, but feel as if they're sitting next to them at the cafe. Radwan's translation is especially fine." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.