Birds of Amber

Birds of Amber

Publishing House: The American University in Cairo Press

Publication Year: 2005

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 432

“Birds of Amber,” a novel by the esteemed Egyptian author Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, is set during the tumultuous times of the 1956 Suez War, known in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression. Against the backdrop of a significant historical event, life unfolds in Alexandria, capturing its essence amid conflict. The story mainly unfolds in el-Masakin, a housing area along the Mahmudiya Canal for railroad workers.

The novel immerses readers in Alexandrian life, contrasting el-Masakin’s simplicity with the city’s cosmopolitan areas. Here, a diverse community of Europeans – Greeks, Italians, and Jews – is depicted amid a mass exodus. Abdel Meguid’s Alexandria is a city of contrasting worlds, where the local Egyptian culture intermingles with the fading European influences.

Exploring Abdel Meguid’s ‘Birds of Amber’ in Alexandria’s Tapestry of History

Unforgettable characters populate this captivating tale, each contributing a unique perspective to the narrative tapestry. Central to the story is a young aspiring novelist who pens the lives and peculiarities of el-Masakin’s inhabitants, as well as his unlikely romance with a 12-year-old girl.

The story includes a nostalgic spice merchant, a storytelling train guard, and a filmmaker capturing the war in Port Said. The book introduces characters: a cinema enthusiast, a boy seeking divine sightings, and Arabi, fascinated with his employer.

“Birds of Amber,” like Abdel Meguid’s previous work “No One Sleeps in Alexandria,” seamlessly blends historical facts with fictional elements, creating a rich narrative mosaic. The novel juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary, weaving together multiple storylines into an intricate and multifaceted narrative.

Abdel Meguid’s storytelling depicts the historical era and explores love, aspiration, and cultural identity deeply. The novel testifies to Abdel Meguid’s skill in capturing the spirit of a time and place.

Read More About Ibrahim Abdel Meguid,

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