9.99 In Stock
As penance for a liaison with 'Adil Tannous, a Copt of her village, Hanan Bayt al-Mal is sent to live with relatives in Cairo. There, against the background of the first days of the Sadat regime, she finds work organizing the library of Benedict Risk, an enigmatic academic with whom she shares an enthusiasm for the works of Jurji Zaydan, the father of the Arab historical novel. Thus begins Hanan's strange relationship with two men: the one who, from beyond the grave, becomes the voice of her imagination and conscience, the other who prepares her for a future in scholarship and is the object of her unrequited affection. Summoned one day to the Ministry of Interior by Captain Laith Messa'ud to explain an irregularity in her declaration of residency, she is threatened with prison if she refuses to spy on Risk, whom the Egyptian authorities suspect of being an American agent. Insinuating himself into the narrow space between Hanan's mind and heart, Laith sets in motion a series of events that dogs her progress toward a promising career and the coming to terms with her youthful indiscretion.