Egypt in the ninth century ad: an Arab, Muslim ruling class governs a country of mostly Coptic-speaking Christians. After an exorbitant land tax imposed by the caliph’s governors sparks a peasant revolt, Budayr is dispatched to the marshlands of the Nile Delta as an escort for a church-appointed emissary whose mission is to persuade the rebels to lay down their arms. But he is soon caught up in a swirl of events and concerns that alter the course of his life irrevocably, setting him on a path he could never have foreseen. The events that befall him and the insights he gains from them bring about a gradual but inexorable personal transformation, through which his eyes are opened to the fundamental commonalities— practical, spiritual, and existential—that bind Muslims and Copts, and he emerges as an emissary of a new sort. Hailed as a groundbreaking treatment of otherwise neglected aspects of medieval history, The Man from Bashmour is an exploration of the Egyptian character past and present, and offers insights into Egyptian thought on everything from love, philosophy, and religion to life and death.
SALWA BAKR was born in Cairo in 1949. She is the author of seven volumes of short stories (including The Wiles of Men, AUC Press, 1997), seven novels (including The Man from Bashmour, AUC Press, 2007), and a play. Her work has been translated into nine languages.
Nancy Roberts is an award-winning translator of a number of Arabic novels including Salwa Bakr’s The Man from Bashmour (AUC Press, 2007), for which she received a commendation in the SaifGhobash–Banipal Prize for Translation, and Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Time of White Horses (Hoopoe, 2016).
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