Rights sold to Romania and Spain
2015 Prix Goncourt finalist
Born in Cairo in 1948, the author has seen a whole world fall apart. Not only the Jews leaving Egypt when Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in 1956, not only the rise of the Muslim brotherhood and an increasingly Islamised Egypt (which sadly reminds us of today’s world), not only the decadence of the last pharaoh, the likeable, ever fatter despot King Farouk who was adored by his people but unable to assert his authority; but most significantly the fall of the old world, the one descended from the rites and superstitions, the magic and curses of ancient Egypt, where the characters of this epic novel seem to come from. What a saga, from 1925 to the present day! What an adventure, from filthy backstreets to political conflict against a backdrop of world war!
Here in the Jewish ghetto, Zohar is born to a beautiful young mother and a blind father, and this child of the ghetto will become almost a prince. His foster sister Masreya, a pure Egyptian with a dancer’s body and beguiling ways, takes him to the gates of power. Here too we find the beggars and the proud, the street swindlers and the gossip-mongers, the poor and the affluent, the whole population of a shouting, rebelling, suffering and hoping Egypt in a colourful saga illuminated by a millennial sun.
The ethno-psychiatrist, disciple of Georges Devereux, professor of psychology and sometime diplomat Tobie Nathan is also an essayist and novelist. Amongst other works, he has published La Nouvelle Interprétation des rêves (Odile Jacob, 2011) and Ethno-roman (Grasset), winner of the 2012 Prix Femina for an essay.
Cette saga aux couleurs du soleil millénaire dit tout de l’Égypte : grandeur et décadence du roi Farouk, dernier pharaon, despote à l’apparence de prince charmant, adoré de son peuple et paralysé de névroses. Arrivée au pouvoir de Gamal Abdel Nasser en 1952 et expulsion des Juifs. Islamisation de l’Égypte sous la poussée des Frères musulmans, première éruption d’un volcan qui n’en finit pas de rugir… C’est la chute du monde ancien, qui enveloppait magies et sortilèges sous les habits d’Hollywood. La naissance d’un monde moderne, pris entre dieux et diables.