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AUC Press's Description
Winner of the 2012 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, this novel is set in an idyllic Egyptian village from the time it was discovered by Muhammad Ali’s mission in the early nineteenth century to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, movingly intertwining events on the world scene with the life dramas of its protagonists. The story opens with the pivotal character, Mubarka al-Fuli, now a grandmother and matriarch, wanting to dictate a letter to God for her grandson to send to the Almighty by email. We are then ushered back in time to Mubarka’s fiery adolescence and her painfully aborted romance with Muntasir, son of the village’s deceased but legendary strongman. The shifting fortunes of the al-Deeb clan affect every aspect of its members’ lives, from their sexual vulnerabilities to the grief of loss, the uncertainties of a changing world, and the heartaches born of betrayal, and love unfulfilled.