In the early 1990s, Iman Mersal stumbled upon al-Hubb wa-l-samt (Love and Silence), the only novel by Enayat Zayyat published in 1967 and since forgotten. Mersal knew nothing of the author, except that she had died before it was published. Twenty years later, still haunted by the book, she embarked on an investigation that spanned several years, to discover who Enayat Zayyat was and to understand what led this young woman from a bourgeois family to take her own life at the age of 27. Step by step, she accesses layers of truth, always in a fragmented way, sometimes contradictory, composing a puzzle that she knows from the start will remain incomplete. Her quest is both historical and intellectual, poetic and intimate, and also an invitation to today’s Egypt to look at itself in the mirror of its recent past, in the 1950s and 1960s, which are the object of a nostalgic cult that this book, far from nourishing, peels back like an onion and dissects layer by layer.
Approximate number of pages: 240 p.
Foreign rights: contact the author‘s agent