Forthcoming in November 2023
A riveting novel that is both an indictment and an elegy, a second-person memoir of Nasser’s final months in the voice of his former prisoner.
In 1959, at the age of twenty-two, Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim was imprisoned by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime. Over the following five years in prison in Egypt’s Western Desert, Ibrahim kept diaries that he smuggled out on cigarette papers.
In this novel, Ibrahim takes up Nasser as a fictional character tied tightly to real events, offering a window into his daily life in his final years. Ibrahim follows Nasser during the War of Attrition and the aftermath of the 1967 war with Israel and looks back on the events of the previous decades. He also chronicles Nasser at his most vulnerable, detailing a more private set of Nasser’s setbacks and defeats: the daily routines of a diabetic suffering from heart trouble in the months before his death. Political events as well as social and economic transformations are narrated through newspaper clippings and archival fragments, painting a portrait of the decline of a man who was once larger than life.