WINNER OF THE CAIRO INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR PRIZE
‘Spectres is a boldly original novel by an important writer whose exemplary work we need more of in English.’
‘Spectres reflects on eduction and activism in Egypt as part of the background narrative.’
Spectres alternates between the stories of Radwa and Shagar; two women born the same day, one a professor of literature, one of history. The novel that results is part fiction, part autobiography, part oral history, part documentary – a metafiction moving between Radwa, who is writing a novel called Spectres, and Shagar who has written a history, titled Spectres, about the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin. The novel’s structure plays lyrical, compelling tribute to the ideas of the Arab queen – double or companion, and sometimes demon – and the ancient Egyptian ka, the spirit that is born with and accompanies an individual through life and beyond. Spectres unites the projects of history and literature in an evocative, penetrating meditation on the dissolution of boundaries between the personal and the political, on contemporary life in a fractured world.
RADWAR ASHOUR is a highly acclaimed Egyptian writer and scholar and the author of more than fifteen books of fiction, memoir, and criticism; among them, Siraaj and Granada have been published in English. She is a recipient of the Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature.