Specters tells the story of Radwa and Shagar, two women born the same day. The narrative alternates between their childhoods, their days at work, their married and unmarried lives, and the two books they are writing, both called Specters. This lively metafictional novel is a mix of genres: part autobiography, part oral history, part documentary, part fiction. As the narrative moves back and forth between Radwa’s novel Specters and Shagar’s history Specters (about the massacre at Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village near Jerusalem, in April 1948), Ashour unites the projects of history and literature and blurs the boundaries between the personal and the political in one compellingly readable meditation on contemporary life in a fractured world.
Winner of the Cairo International Book Fair Prize
Radwa Ashour (1946–2014) is a highly acclaimed Egyptian writer and scholar. She is the author of more than fifteen works of fiction, memoir, and criticism, including Specters (AUC Press, 2010) and The Woman from Tantoura (AUC Press, 2014), and was a recipient of the Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature and the prestigious Owais Prize for Fiction.
Barbara Romaine has been teaching Arabic for nearly two decades, currently at Villanova University. Her other translations include Bahaa Taher’s novel Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery and Radwa Ashour’s Siraaj. She received an NEA fellowship to support the translation of Specters.