Sonallah Ibrahim’s 2000 masterpiece offers readers a view of twentieth-century world events through the diary pages of his titular character
1950s Cairo: the intersection of conflicting dreams and political destinies. In this classic novel translated for the first time into English, idealistic reporter Rushdy encounters the enchanting Warda and her brother Yaarib at a clandestine leftist meeting. Their fates would be forever linked. Decades after Warda goes missing, Rushdy immerses himself in her diaries in a quest to uncover her whereabouts. The search takes him to the hills of Dhofar, Oman, where he discovers Warda’s guerrilla role in a regional uprising and secret involvement in revolutions with echoes around the globe. Piece by revelatory piece, Rushdy uncovers the truth about Warda—and the fiery commitment that drove her to choose the life she lived.
Widely acknowledged as a masterpiece by one of Egypt’s most important novelists, this is an unforgettable story of intrigue, passion, and revolution.
Sonallah Ibrahim is a critically acclaimed Egyptian novelist. Trained in law at Cairo University, he worked as a journalist until he was arrested and imprisoned in 1959 for his political associations. Hosam Aboul‑Ela is a writer, translator, and literary critic.
“Hosam Aboul-Ela succeeds in capturing a tone that veers between idealism and a worldly indifference. It isn’t easy to get across Ibrahim’s simple, mirror-polished prose. . . . This version of Warda gets it just right.”—Amir-Hussein Radjy, Times Literary Supplement
“A splendid translation of an iconic novel. Warda lives beyond the past, in perpetual hope, love, loss, and search for liberation. History here is vessel or decoy. Sonallah Ibrahim is a genius.”—Fady Joudah, author of Tethered to Stars
“Haunted by the ghosts of Arab revolution, Sonallah Ibrahim’s Warda is an archive of left-wing hopes and an unsparing view of the present. From the wasteland of Mubarak-era Egypt, Ibrahim conjures a history of eros and upheaval—a timely reminder of what was and what might have been.”—Robyn Creswell, Yale University
“A masterful translation of a magnificent work by one the Arab world’s foremost novelists, this is a panoramic novel narrating the quest for the memory and meaning of a revolution, its time, and afterlives.”—Sinan Antoon, author of The Book of Collateral Damage
“At once a moving narrative of the brutal personal and political costs of decolonization and a precious historical document, Warda is a tour de force; an epic tale of revolution, love, and loss, brilliantly translated into English by Hosam Aboul-Ela.”—Samah Selim, Rutgers University
“An outstanding novel about beauty, friendship, and love.”—Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, American University of Beirut
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