The Girl with Braided Hair

The Girl with Braided Hair

Author: Rasha Adly

Publishing House: Hoopoe

Publication Year: 2020

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 336

“The Girl with Braided Hair,” Rasha Adly’s captivating debut novel, intertwines the lives of two women from different times through a mysterious historical painting. Inspired by real events, the story unfolds through Yasmine, an art historian. She actively engages in restoring an unsigned portrait from the Napoleonic Era. The painting, featuring a beautiful girl, conceals a secret: a lock of hair within its layers, an oddity for that period. Arriving at the museum without historical records, the painting’s origins remain enigmatic. Yasmine becomes deeply involved in uncovering the story behind this intriguing artwork.

Meanwhile, Zeinab’s tale, set during the French Campaign in Egypt’s final days, runs parallel. As the daughter of a prominent sheikh, her life takes a dramatic turn when, surprisingly, Napoleon Bonaparte summons her. Immersed in French high society, Zeinab’s journey threatens to disconnect her from her family and cultural heritage.

Adly skillfully merges these narratives, blending fiction with historical facts, art, and politics. The story, spanning eras, connects Cairo’s historical opulence with the present. It creates a rich narrative exploring identity, culture, and love, introducing readers to a compelling historical segment and signaling the rise of an exceptional literary voice.

“The Girl with Braided Hair” was originally published in Arabic as “Shaghaf” in 2017 by Arab Scientific Publishers. The English translation by Sarah Enany, released in 2020, opens this fascinating tale to a broader audience. This story, transcending time and place, captivates readers with its blend of history and fiction.

Read More About Rasha Adly

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