An epic tale of Egyptian rural life in a time of revolution
Set in the sleepy Egyptian village of Muntaha during the late 1940s, this novel paints a vibrant portrait of rural life in Egypt that is both moving and memorable. Between the turbulent events of 1948 and the final years of the British presence in Egypt, the village’s inhabitants find themselves caught up against their will in the swirl of larger world events, although their daily lives, concerns, and beliefs are grounded in the timeless nature of a rural past. Hala El Badry’s masterful narrative depicts, in intimate detail, her characters’ relationships not only to each other but to the natural environment that surrounds them: from fishing on the Nile and cotton and corn harvests, to donkeys and sparrows gone tipsy on overripe fruit. The trials and fortunes of Taha Musaylihi, the mayor of Muntaha, together with those of his extended family, form the backbone of this tale of real life in the guise of fiction. Confronted with the fear and injustices born of war and foreign occupation, as well as the insecurity of their dependency on Nature and her forces, Taha joins the village farmers in valiant defiance of their British occupiers.