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The map of love
Ahdaf Soueif
Adult Fiction SOUEIF

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From Publishers' Weekly:

CoincidenceÄpersonal, political and culturalÄrules in this burnished, ultra-romantic Booker Prize finalist. In 1997, Isabel Parkman, a recently divorced American journalist, travels to Egypt to research about the impending millennium. But her interest in Egypt has more to do with her crush on Omar al-Ghamrawi, a passionate and difficult older Egyptian-American conductor and political writer, than with her work. Once in Egypt, Isabel neglects her project for a more personal investigation. Lugging with her a mysterious trunk of papers bequeathed to her by her mother, Isabel turns up at Omar's sister Amal's house in Cairo and explains that Omar had said she might be interested in translating the papers. As the two soon discover, Isabel is Amal's distant cousin, and the papers belonged to their mutual great-grandmother, Anna Winterbourne. As a young English widow, Anna traveled to turn-of-the-century Egypt, then an English colony, and fell in love with an Egyptian man. "I cannot help thinking that when she chose to step off the well-trodden paths of expatriate life, Anna must have secretly wanted something out of the ordinary to happen to her," muses Amal, who begins to realize that the same applies to her own life. Soueif (In the Eye of the Sun) writes simply and, on occasion, beautifully. Anna's journal entries are particularly evocative. Sticklers for narrative detail might chafe at the number of incredible coincidences, including a bizarre twist involving Isabel's mother and Omar, and forsaken plot devices (Isabel's millennium project is never mentioned after her arrival in Egypt). On balance, however, Soueif weaves the stories of three formidable women from vastly different times and countries into a single absorbing tale. 6-city author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This exotic family saga/romance by the Egyptian-born Soueif is based on a conceit: the discovery of family letters and diaries by New York journalist Isabel, which leads to her discovery of the Egyptian branch of the family she never knew she had. Isabel's great-grandmother was a young English widow who traveled to Egypt to see where her young husband had fought in World War I. Abducted by Egyptian nationalists while in disguise as a male, she subsequently fell in love with an Egyptian man. Her story is slowly unraveled when Isabel returns the trunk containing her papers to the sister of an Egyptian doctor from New York, both of whom turn out to be her long-lost cousins. This colorful, involving story offers a good dose of history of the struggle for Egyptian independence from British rule. Recommended as something a little different where historical romances are popular.ÄAnn H. Fisher, Radford P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Isabel Parkman
Finds a trunk full of old documents in her dying mother's apartment.

Lady Anna Winterbourne
In love with an Egyptian nationalist.

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