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Bahaa Taher presents multilayered variations on the themes of exile, disillusionment, failed dreams, and the redemptive power of love. The unnamed narrator is an Egyptian journalist in a self-imposed exile in Europe after conflict with the management of his newspaper and a divorce from his wife..
Bahaa Taher was born in 1935 in Cairo and published his first short story in 1964. After living in Switzerland in the 1980s and 90s, he returned to Egypt and received much literary acclaim. He received the State Award of Merit in Literature, Egypt's highest honor for writing, in 1998 and the Italian Giuseppe Acerbi prize for his novel Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery in 2000. Farouk Abdel Wahab, the Ibn Rushd Professorial Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Chicago, has translated numerous Arabic works of fiction, most recently A Certain Woman by Hala El Badry (AUC Press, 2003).