The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
By Enid Shomer
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781451642971, 480pp.)
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Before she became the nineteenth century’s greatest heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled down the Nile at the same time in 1850. But where history would have these two figures float right by each other, the award-winning writer Enid Shomer brings them together to ignite a passionate friendship that alters both their destinies.
Shomer, whose writing The New York Times has praised as “beautifully cadenced, and surprising in its imaginative reach,” brings to life the opulent tapestry of mid-nineteenth-century Egypt as the unlikely soul mates come together to share their darkest torments and most fervent hopes.
Enid Shomer won the Iowa Fiction Prize for her first collection of stories and the Florida Gold Medal for her second. She is also the author of four books of poetry. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and many other publications. She lives in Tampa, Florida.
?eoeLet?e(TM)s talk about the imagery first. Let?e(TM)s choose one word: magnificent. This is the Nile; this is Egypt; this is desert sun and camel rhythms, Harem seduction and ?e~spavined mules.?e(TM) This is what Shomer does best.?e
"A mesmerizing new work of historical fiction. . . .The Twelve Rooms of the Nile...ribald and sometimes explicitly sexual, is a fascinating travel back in time"
?eoeThe meeting in 1850 of Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert in Egypt, an unlikely but immensely satisfying confluence, is deftly imagined in this brilliant book. The louche Flaubert and the sober Miss Nightingale are fitting representations of ourselves as life?e(TM)s travelers?e"alternately lazy and alert, sensuous and restrained, complacent and curious.?e
?eoeI could not imagine it: Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale as friends, almost as lovers! Step by step, detail by detail, Shomer constructs the story of how a man and a woman with nothing in common but genius, one French, one English, one steeped in cynicism, one drowning in despair, could meet on the Nile in 1850, talk, write, hold hands, and see into each other?e(TM)s souls. As brilliantly sensual as it is finely psychological, this novel is a tour de force of twenty-first century storytelling.?e
?eoeWith the voice of a poet and a keen eye for time, place, and character, Enid Shomer tells of the imagined intersection of two famous lives ?e" and the communion of two unlikely souls ?e" on the crossroads of the Nile. Beautifully written, touchingly rendered.?e
?eoePoetic . . .? Enid Shomer's debut novel begins where historical documentation leaves off, imagining a strong friendship between the lost, pre-Madame Bovary Flaubert and the earnest 29-year-old Nightingale searching for a purpose.?e
?eoeTender and marvelously imagined.?e