Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights

Publishing House: The American University in Cairo Press

Publication Year: 2012

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 192

“Miral al-Tahawy’s novel “Brooklyn Heights” is a poignant and evocative tale of Hind, a woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and literary aspiration in New York City. Hind, arriving from Egypt with her son and manuscripts, dreams of becoming a writer despite limited English. She finds herself in a vibrant Brooklyn, brimming with individuals who share her ambitions.

Hind rediscovers her past in “Brooklyn”, reminiscing about her Bedouin village in the Nile Delta. “Brooklyn Heights” abounds in sensory details, drawing parallels between characters, their scents, and reflections. The narrative intertwines the stories of various disadvantaged characters, offering a kaleidoscopic view of displacement.

It won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Arabic Booker Prize. Egyptian writer Miral al-Tahawy enriches the narrative with her experiences. Born in 1968 into the Bedouin al-Hanadi tribe, she lived traditionally until she moved to Cairo at 26. Eluding marriage, she worked as a teacher and independently pursued studies at the University of Cairo.

Her father, notably liberal-minded, supported the education of both al-Tahawy and her older sister, who became a pharmacist. Al-Tahawy’s first-hand experience of transitioning from a secluded village life to the freedoms of the city inspired her literary journey. Her debut in the literary world was a collection of short stories titled “Riem al-barai al-mostahila” (The Exceptional Steppe Antelope) in 1995, which was based on childhood memories and her grandmother’s stories. She subsequently authored three novels: “Al-Khibaa” (The Tent), “Al-Badhingana al-zarqa” (The Blue Aubergine), and “Naquarat al-Zibae” (The Gazelle’s Tracks), with the first two being translated into English by the American University in Cairo Press. Al-Tahawy’s work reflects her journey from a Bedouin life to acclaim in Arabic literature.

Read More About Miral Al-Tahawy

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!