No One Sleeps in Alexandria

No One Sleeps in Alexandria

Publishing House: The American University in Cairo Press

Publication Year: 2007

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 416

“No One Sleeps in Alexandria” by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, is a compelling narrative that delves into the complex fabric of Egyptian society during the early 1940s, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The novel intricately portrays the convergence of diverse lives – Muslims and Copts, individuals from the north and south of Egypt, men and women – as they navigate their existence in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city. This story masterfully illustrates how the distant echoes of war in Europe profoundly ripple through their lives, bringing unforeseen consequences.

At the heart of this narrative is the remarkable friendship between Sheikh Magd al-Din, a devout Muslim hailing from the peasant class in northern Egypt, and Dimyan, a Coptic Christian with southern Egyptian origins. Their journey, marked by survival and self-discovery, forms the core of the novel. Their relationship, set in a time of turmoil and uncertainty, explores the nuances of religious differences and social backgrounds in a deeply personal context.

The novel skillfully weaves together the stories of other characters, each uniquely connected to Alexandria. These include individuals from the bustling city, the serene villages, and even those closer to the war zones in the desert. Abdel Meguid’s narrative brings to life the diverse experiences of these characters, thereby painting a rich and multidimensional portrait of Alexandria during the war.

Abdel Meguid’s portrayal of Alexandria is distinctly Egyptian, offering a perspective that diverges significantly from the Western literary depictions of the city by authors like Cavafy, Forster, and Durrell. Although set in the same geographical space, the world of “No One Sleeps in Alexandria” is markedly different, imbued with authentic Egyptian cultural and historical nuances.

Throughout the novel, Abdel Meguid captures the rhythms of everyday life in Alexandria, while boldly addressing the sensitive and often intricate subject of religious differences. He explores these themes not only on the surface level but also delves into their deeper, more subtle implications. “No One Sleeps in Alexandria” is not just a story about a city; it is a tapestry of human experiences, relationships, cultural identities, and the impact of global events on local lives. This novel stands as a testament to the richly layered and diverse narratives that make up the historical and cultural fabric of Alexandria, offering a unique and authentic Egyptian vision of a city that has been the muse for many literary figures.

Read More About Ibrahim Abdel Meguid,

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