by Telmissany, May

May Telmissany’s novel is the story of a woman who suffers one of life’s greatest tragedies, the loss of her child. We read about months of anticipation, the trauma of the event and the devastating effect on herself and those surrounding her. The book explores in great detail the slow and agonizing process of recovery, both physical and psychological, and the ways in which the narrator wills herself to pick up the shattered pieces of her life. But, “Dunyazad” is also a penetrating portrait of a country, Egypt, whose citizens are caught in a never-ending spiral of change and aspirations. The novel is set against the backdrop of Egypt’s new middle-class where the crushing will to conform to societal and class norms – the Egyptian version of ‘keeping up with the Jones’- is present amid the never-ending bustle of Cairo and the pressures of the housing market.