A novel about growing up half-Jewish, half-Muslim in an Egypt where Jews were increasingly unwelcome, by the author of Days of Diaspora
Egyptian Muslims and Jews were not always at odds. Before the Arab–Israeli wars, before the mass exodus of Jews from Egypt, there was harmony. Offering an intimate yet panoramic view of the easy coexistence of Muslims, Jews, and Christians in an old neighborhood of Cairo, this sweeping yet personal novel, spanning the 1930s to the 1960s, accompanies Galal, a young boy with a Jewish mother and a Muslim father, through his childhood and boyhood in the vibrant popular quarter of Daher. With his schoolboy crushes and teen rebellions, Galal is deeply Egyptian, knit tightly with his mother, father, and grandfather in old Cairo—a middle-class social fabric of manners and morals, values and traditions that cheerfully incorporates and as cheerfully transcends religion, but a fabric that is about to be torn apart by a bigger world of politics that will also put Galal’s very identity to the test.