A "glorious, humane novel" (The Observer) about the Egyptian revolution, taking us inside the battle raging between those in power and those prepared to lay down their lives in the defense of freedom - this globally acclaimed narrative from one of the foremost writers in the Arab world is still banned across much of the region.
Cairo, 2011. After decades under a repressive regime, tensions are rising in the city streets. No one is out of reach of the revolution. There is General Alwany, a high-ranking member of the government's security agency, a pious man who loves his family yet won't hesitate to torture enemies of the state; Asma, a young teacher who chafes against the brazen corruption at her school; Ashraf, an out-of-work actor who is having an affair with his maid and who gets pulled into Tahrir Square through a chance encounter; Nourhan, a television personality who loyally defends those in power; and many more.
As these lives collide, a new generation finds a voice, love blossoms across class divides, and the revolution gains strength. Even the general finds himself at a crossroads as his own daughter joins the protests. Yet, the old regime will not give up without a fight.
With an unforgettably vivid cast of characters and a heart-pounding narrative banned across much of the region, Alaa Al Aswany gives us a deeply human portrait of the Egyptian Revolution, and an impassioned retelling of his country's turbulent recent history.
"Brave, sobering, provocative, and thoroughly absorbing.... A gripping chorus of voices.... In today’s splintered and partisan political and media landscape, this is a stark lesson for democracies everywhere: Whomever controls the narrative, controls the outcomes." (Booklist)
"It goes places that no nonfiction account could.... Sweeping, nuanced." (Seattle Times)
"Ambitious and hard-hitting." (Kirkus Reviews)