Synopses & Reviews
It is mid-summer in 1891 and Emile Touta is gathering his extended family for the annual photograph on the beach at Alexandria, when he falls in love with Dora. Soon they marry. Helping in her new husbands portrait studio, Dora finds herself drawn to photography and her work soon eclipses Emiles efforts. The studios reputation soars and Cairos high society is swiftly clamouring to be photographed there. However Doras behaviour and ambition shock many. Meanwhile nationalism is taking root in British-occupied Egypt. Dora, in a radical gesture of her own, leaves for Khartoum, to cover the British conquest of Sudan. Alone there, she begins finally to reconcile her identities as a talented artist and a woman of her society. Robert Solés evocation of late 19th century Egyptian society, peopled by a confidently and exuberantly drawn cast of characters, is a powerful historical fiction which makes no concession to sentimental nostalgia.
When Dora and Emil Touta are married in Egypt in 1861, she begs him to teach her the secrets of his photographic studio. Soon Dora's skill with a camera has far eclipsed Emil's and the studio is the talk of Cairo. But the Cairene elite, however sophisticated, is not ready for a woman as emancipated as Dora, and her marriage shows signs of strain. She must choose between the role of a wife and that of an artist in a society whose own identity is divided as nationalism takes root under British occupation.
About the Author
Robert Solé was born in Cairo in 1946. At the age of 18, he moved to France to study at the prestigious École Supérieure de Journalisme in Lille. Since then he has worked at Le Monde. He has combined a successful career as a journalist with that of a successful author.