February 1946: Cairo is engulfed by demonstrations against the British. Layla’s older brother Mahmud returns, wounded in the clashes, and the events of that fateful day mark a turning point in her life, an awakening to the world around her. Latifa al-Zayyat’s acclaimed modern classic follows Layla through her sexual and political coming of age. Her rebellious spirit seeks to free itself from the stifling social codes that dictate a young woman’s life, just as Egypt struggles to shake off the yoke of imperialist rule.
The Open Door
February 1946: Cairo is engulfed by demonstrations against the British. Layla's older brother Mahmud returns, wounded in the clashes, and the events o
Latifa al-Zayyat (1923–96) struggled all her life to uphold just causes—national integrity, the welfare of the poor, human rights, freedom of expression, and the rejection of all forms of imperialist hegemony. As a professor of English literature at Ain Shams University, her critical output was no less prolific than her creative writing, but the creative, academic, and political strands of her personality were interwoven. The Open Door is generally recognized as her magnum opus. MARILYN BOOTH received her D.Phil. in Arabic literature and modern Middle East history from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. She has translated numerous works of Arabic fiction, most recently The Tiller of Waters by Hoda Barakat (AUC Press 2001).