A Land Like You
To be published internationally on 15 December 2020. Now available for sale in India from this website!
Cairo 1925, Haret al-Yahud, the old Jewish Quarter. Esther, a beautiful young woman believed to be possessed by demons, longs to give birth after seven blissful years of marriage. Her husband, blind since childhood, does not object when, in her effort to conceive, she participates in Muslim zar rituals. Zohar, the novel’s narrator, comes into the world, but because his mother’s breasts are dry, he is nursed by a Muslim peasant—also believed to be possessed—who has just given birth to a girl, Masreya. Suckled at the same breasts and united by a rabbi’s amulet, the milk-twins will be consumed by a passionate, earth-shaking love.
Part fantastical fable, part realistic history, A Land Like You draws on ethno-psychiatrist Tobie Nathan’s own Jewish Egyptian heritage and deep knowledge of North African folk beliefs to create a glittering tapestry in which spirit possession and religious mysticism exist side by side with sober facts about the British occupation of Egypt and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Officers’ Movement. Historical figures such as Gamel Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and King Farouk mingle with Nathan’s fictional characters in this riveting and revealing tale of an Egypt caught between tradition and modernity, multiculturalism and nationalism, oppression and freedom.
Praise for the French original
‘A magnificent novel . . . in which Tobie Nathan, nourished by his deep knowledge of ancient rites and traditions and his long intimacy with society’s outcasts, assumes the voice of the common people of Cairo.’—Le Monde
‘A bewitching fresco, embellished with pharaonic culture and orientalism, retracing the path of the author’s Egyptian childhood.’—L’Express
‘Tobie Nathan’s Egypt is prodigious. It is burning, loving, intrepid. It is made of men and women, mothers and fathers, child-kings and British soldiers. It is made of Egyptians and foreigners and stateless people. Of Arabs, Jews, and Copts. Of dates, pastries, and bread. It is made of the Nile, pyramids, and palaces. Of magic and tragedy.’— Le Point
‘A captivating tale that moves from street to street . . . from era to era . . . a world where Jews and Arabs lived together . . .’—Le Figaro
‘Tobie Nathan recreates an Egypt that is complex, luminous, sensual, multiple and eternal, subject to the vagaries of History, and whose echoes are current . . . An ode to the Egyptian land, to its inhabitants—humans or spirits—and most of all to its mothers, magicians and nurses.’ —Sylvie Koneski, Parutions
If you are ordering from India, your order will be shipped from Seagull Books, Calcutta.
If you are ordering from the US or the UK or anywhere else in the world, your order will be shipped from the University of Chicago Press' distribution centre, Chicago.
Please note: For customers paying in currencies other than Indian rupee or US dollar, prices will be calculated according to the currency conversion rate at the time of purchase and may vary from the printed price.