This audacious novel opens with Ayn as she reflects on the act of writing and wonders if love alone is sufficient subject for a narrative. Haltingly at first, she weaves the tale of her love affair with Ali with witty asides about her own writing, and the limits and self-deceptions that are at the heart of all storytelling. As the story finds its way, through sea and desert, and the realms of mysticism and magic, we learn of a passionate, volatile relationship, one severely tested through countless separations, of Ayn’s relationships with other men, including her intense encounters with a Corsican ex-convict, and of her own desire to escape the confines of marriage, even to the man she loves. Disarmingly candid in the telling, So You May See leads us gently into a revolt, a fierce rebuttal of conventional romantic literature and an indictment of the sexual mores and unquestioned attitudes to marriage and relationships in contemporary Egypt.
Mona Prince was born in Cairo in 1970. She is associate professor of English Literature at Suez Canal University in Egypt. She has published novels (including So You May See, AUC Press, 2011) and short stories in Arabic, and has translated both poetry and short stories. In 2012, she nominated herself for the Egyptian presidency in the run-up to the country’s first ever democratic presidential elections.
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