The Book of Epiphanies

An Egyptian Novel

Gamal al-Ghitani
Translated byFarouk Abdel Wahab

Upon returning from a trip abroad, the author–narrator learns that his father has died during his absence. Crushed with grief and guilt, he begins a

English edition
15 September 2012
288 pp.
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774165467
For sale worldwide

$17.95

Upon returning from a trip abroad, the author–narrator learns that his father has died during his absence. Crushed with grief and guilt, he begins a journey of discovery of self and existence. Beset by doubts and at times despair, he almost gives up, but then is granted the priceless gift of appearing before the mythical–mystical Diwan, the council that oversees all affairs of this world, keeping a record of everything that has ever happened or existed and righting wrongs past and present. With the guidance of the Great Master, the Prophet’s grandson al-Husayn, he is able to witness events of his father’s life, his own life, and that of his beleaguered country as he progresses through Sufi states and stations. Granted the ability to be in several places and various eras simultaneously, the narrator is able to bring together heroes and villains and great events and debacles in Egypt’s and all of Islam’s history. Alternating scenes depict the historical martyrdom of al-Husayn in Karbala, and a fantastical confrontation between two camps fighting over the soul of Egypt: in one camp we meet President Gamal Abdel Nasser, al-Husayn, the narrator’s own father, and a ragtag army of valiant but ill-equipped Egyptians in combat with one led by Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin. This surrealist novel with political and mystical overtones and an edge of satire reveals one of Egypt’s greatest living writers at his finest.

Gamal al-Ghitani

Gamal al-Ghitani, born in 1945, is the author of Zayni Barakat (AUC Press, 2004), The Mahfouz Dialogs (AUC Press, 2007), Pyramid Texts (AUC Press, 2007), The Zafarani Files (AUC Press, 2009), The Cairo of Naguib Mahfouz (AUC Press 2012), and The Book of Epiphanies (AUC Press, forthcoming). He is editor-in-chief of the literary review Akhbar al-adab.

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