The eleven short stories in this book take us back to an Alexandria past, the cosmopolitan city as it was experienced by the author in the years before, during, and following the Second World War. Against a backdrop of major events in Alexandria’s history, from the halcyon days of the late 1930s, through the alarums of the War, to the 1952 Revolution and the dispersion of almost the entire foreign community of the city, Tzalas weaves his stories peopled with characters from his youth. These are ordinary people, people of different nationalities and faiths, but all Alexandrians, living side by side in the Great City. In describing each character with great sensitivity and perception, Tzalas succeeds not only in capturing the essence of the city itself, but in poignantly foretelling the fundamental changes and exodus that were to come. The events surrounding, among others, a German family caught in the city during the Second World War, three French monks, an old Greek musician, and a group of cultivated elderly Alexandrian gentlemen, are told with an affection often tinged with sadness. Through these characters, Tzalas tells the story of everyday lives caught up in the turbulent currents of history and the transformation of a beloved city—the end of an era. Each of the eleven stories is accompanied by an evocative illustration by Anna Boghiguian.
Farewell to Alexandria
Eleven Short Stories
The eleven short stories in this book take us back to an Alexandria past, the cosmopolitan city as it was experienced by the author in the years befor
Harry Tzalas was born and educated in Alexandria. In 1956, he emigrated with his family to Brazil before settling in Greece. He is the founder and president of the Hellenic Institute for Ancient and Medieval Alexandrian Studies, based in Athens. Anna Boghiguian is one of Egypt’s foremost contemporary artists. She has illustrated editions of Constantine Cavafy and Giuseppe Ungaretti. She lives in Cairo and Montreal. She is the author of Anna’s Egypt: An Artist’s Journey (AUC Press, 2003).
ANNA BOGHIGUIAN, born in Cairo in 1946, graduated from the American University in Cairo in economics and political science in 1969, then studied art under Fouad Kamel in Egypt. She obtained her BFA in visual arts and music from Concordia University, Montreal. She has held many exhibitions in Egypt, Yemen, France, Greece, and Canada, and has illustrated many books including editions of Ungaretti and Cavafy for the French publisher Fata Morgana, who also published her own book Images of the Nile in early 2000, part of a projected series called Rivers of the World to include volumes on the Ganges and the Mekong. For the American University in Cairo Press she has illustrated Farewell to Alexandria by Harry E. Tzalas (March 2000) and created a series of twenty covers for editions of novels by Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz.