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2022 Longlist

The Girl with Braided Hair

Translated from the Arabic by Sarah Enany

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Based on historical events, the lives of two women living centuries apart are bound together by an enigmatic painting in this mesmerising debut.

Art historian Yasmine has been working on restoring an unsigned portrait of a strikingly beautiful girl from the Napoleonic Era, when she discovers that the artist has embedded a lock of hair into the painting, something highly unusual. The mysterious painting came into the museum’s possession without record, and Yasmine sets out to uncover the secret concealed within this captivating work.

Meanwhile, at the close of the French Campaign in Egypt, sixteen-year-old Zeinab, the daughter of a prominent sheikh, is drawn into French high society when Napoleon himself requests her presence. Enamored by the foreign customs of the Europeans, she finds herself on a dangerous path, one that may ostracise her from her family and culture.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Rasha
Adly

Rasha Adly is an Egyptian writer, born in Cairo in 1972, and author of six novels in Arabic She is a researcher and freelance lecturer in the history of art, and Cairo correspondent for the Emirates Culture magazine. She is the author of six novels, and The Girl with Braided Hair (2017) was long listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2018. The Girl with Braided is Adly’s first novel to be translated into English.

Rasha Adly is an Egyptian writer, born in Cairo in 1972, and author of six novels in Arabic She is a researcher and freelance lecturer in the history of art, and Cairo correspondent for the Emirates Culture magazine. She is the author of six novels, and The Girl with Braided Hair (2017) was long listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2018. The Girl with Braided is Adly’s first novel to be translated into English.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

“‘East is East, and West is West’, as a poet wrote once, yet the twain are mesmerizingly met in Rasha Adly’s The Girl with the Braided Hair. A phantasmagoria of history and fiction that takes place in Egypt, the melting pot of eclectic cultures. Adly’s novel depicts the dichotomy between two cultures that stand wide apart: the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria that is on the wane, and an Egyptian society that had been cynical for so long about the culture of the Enlightenment. Adly portrays a mesmerizing narrative that works as a harmonious hotchpotch of art, fiction, politics, modern and old social lives, incarnated in the two major protagonists: the painted one, ‘with the braided hair’, and the modern one who tries to unearth the mystery of the former. The Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt stands as a watershed in the relation between East and West, and Adly’s novel best represents this. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
11/03/2020
Country
Egypt
Original Language
Arabic
Author
Publisher
Hoopoe Fiction The American University in Cairo Press
Translator
Sarah Enany
Translation
Translated from the Arabic by Sarah Enany

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