Cairo: My City, Our Revolution
Ahdaf Soueif, London: Bloomsbury, 2012.
Soueif's most recent work has just been released in the UK; it is her personal account of the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution. The account is told in chronological order, starting on Friday, 28 January 2011, the "Friday of Rage" as it will later be recorded in history, capturing memories and telling stories hour by hour.
Soueif was in India when the first sparks started on 25 January, and headed to Cairo to catch the beginning of the crackdown. The book includes names of individuals who were near to Soueif, and is filled with recollections of particular areas of Cairo that witnessed some of the key incidences in the history of these days, including simplified maps to orient the reader to these locations.
The account is interrupted to record the story of the arrest of Alaa Abdel Fattah, Soueif's nephew, who was arrested for charges related to the violence at the Maspero building in October 2011. After spending over a month in prison, Abdel Fattah was released temporarily and is still awaiting trial. An epilogue at the end of the book includes short testimonies by members of Soueif's family who were involved in the story.
Soueif is an Egyptian writer with several globally-known books to her name, including In The Eye of the Sun and The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize For Fiction in 1999. She is the winner of a number of global awards, the latest of which is the Cavafy Award in 2011.