Warda A Novel Sonallah Ibrahim, Hosam Aboul-Ela

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
13 Jul 2021
Yale University Press
376 pages: 229 x 152 x 25mm
Sales territories:

Sonallah Ibrahim’s 2000 masterpiece offers readers a view of twentieth-century world events through the diary pages of his titular character

1950s Cairo. At a leftist meeting, idealistic journalist Rushdy encounters the enchanting Warda, along with her older brother Yaarib. Years later, after Warda goes mysteriously missing, Rushdy immerses himself in her diaries in a quest to uncover her whereabouts. The quest takes him to the bucolic, remote region of Dhofar, Oman, where he discovers Warda’s guerrilla role in a regional revolt and secret involvement in revolutions with echoes around the globe, from the march against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C., to the trial of Angela Davis and the actions of George H. W. Bush. 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, a writer, translator, and literary critic, lives in Houston, TX.

“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"At once a moving narrative of the brutal personal and political costs of decolonization and a precious historical document, Warda is a tour de force; an epic tale of revolution, love, and loss, brilliantly translated into English by Hosam Aboul-Ela."—Samah Selim, Rutgers University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