The Map of Love
The Map of Love
By Ahdaf Soueif
Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385720113, 544pp.
Publication Date: September 12, 2000
Here is an extraordinary cross-cultural love story that unfurls across Egypt, England, and the United States over the course of a century. Isabel Parkman, a divorced American journalist, has fallen in love with a gifted and difficult Egyptian-American conductor. Shadowing her romance is the courtship of her great-grandparents Anna and Sharif nearly one hundred years before.
In 1900 the recently widows Anna Winterbourne left England for Egypt, an outpost of the Empire roiling with political sentiment. She soon found herself enraptured by the real Egypt and in love with Sharif Pasha al-Baroudi, an Egyptian nationalist. When Isabel, in an attempt to discover the truth behind her heritage, reenacts Anna's excursion to Egypt, the story of her great-grandparents unravels before her, revealing startling parallels for her own life.
Combining the romance and intricate narrative of a nineteenth-century novel with a very modern sense of culture and politics both sexual and international Ahdaf Soueif has created a thoroughly seductive and mesmerizing tale.
"Vivid, passionate and shedding, as true love does, a brilliant, revealing light on the world beyond itself."--The Sunday Telegraph (London)
"Epic. . . . Soueif is at her most eloquent on the subject of her homeland, her prose rich with historical detail and debate. Ultimately, Egypt emerges as the true heroine of this novel."--The Independent (London)
"Ahdaf Soueif has a talent for blending the personal and political and getting under the skin of each one of her characters."--Independent on Sunday (London)
"A magnificent work, reminiscent of Marquez and Allende in its breadth and confidence."--The Guardian
"A bold and vibrant novel. . . . This is political fiction that is also unashamedly romantic--. A triumphant achievement."--Penelope Lively, Literary Review