In the city of Alexandria, five students encounter political struggle and the casual cruelty of a harsh government, but ultimately love and resilience. In the 1970s, once-cosmopolitan Alexandria was at the forefront of the clash between Nasser’s socialist-era principles and the burgeoning fundamentalist movement. Five idealistic students find themselves caught up in this tangled web, as their leftist activism makes them a target both from government surveillance and the Islamist groups seeking to curtail the city’s social life. The group of friends’ participation in the explosive ‘bread riots’ is swiftly followed by the crushing experience of prison, and the course of their young lives changes irrevocably. This story of love, aspiration for social change, disillusionment, and frustration will resonate today in the wake of current political upheavals.
Born in 1946, Ibrahim Abdel Meguid is an Egyptian writer from Alexandria. He has combined critical and creative writing throughout his literary career, and is the author of numerous novels and short-story collections. He was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1997 for his novel The Other Place.
Kay Heikkinen is a translator and academic who holds a PhD from Harvard University. She was previously Ibn Rushd Lecturer of Arabic at the University of Chicago. Among other books, she has translated Naguib Mahfouz’s In the Time of Love, Radwa Ashour’s The Woman From Tantoura, and Huzama Habayeb's Velvet, for which she was awarded the 2020 Saif-Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
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