A Cloudy day on the Western Shore

A Cloudy day on the Western Shore

Publishing House: Syracuse University Press

Publication Year: 2018

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 392

“A Cloudy Day on the Western Shore,” shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize in 2010, intricately weaves the turbulent life of Aisha, an Egyptian girl raised in a Christian convent, beyond the clutches of a predatory uncle. Having received an English education, Aisha’s life intersects with key historical figures such as Lord Cromer, the British consul-general of Egypt, and the renowned archaeologist Howard Carter. Together, they embark on a journey to locate Tutankhamen’s tomb. After a brief period of fortune, Aisha falls for the Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mukhtar. However, the narrative takes a darker turn due to unforeseen events.

This novel is a finely constructed epic, part allegory and part magical realism, threading aspects of Egyptian antiquity throughout. The narrative includes semi-historical accounts of excavations of ancient Egyptian relics and explores the tortured jealousies accompanying them. A deftly written exploration of momentous occasions in world history, “A Cloudy Day on the Western Shore” delves into questions of Egypt’s identity and history. It scrutinizes the implications, for better or worse, of European exploitation of the treasures of pharaonic civilization.

Novelist Qandil skillfully guides readers through complex questions of colonialism, gender, and sectarianism. All seen through the symbolic lens of an unlikely Egyptian heroine. The novel actively engages readers with the intricacies of Aisha’s life and the broader socio-political context, encouraging them to ponder the multifaceted layers of the narrative and the historical themes it touches upon.

Read More About Mohamed Mansi Qandil

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