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May Telmissany's vel is the story of a woman who suffers one of life's greatest tragedies, the loss of her child. We read about months of anticipation, the trauma of the event and the devastating effect on herself and those surrounding her. The book explores in great detail the slow and agonizing process of recovery, both physical and psychological, and the ways in which the narrator wills herself to pick up the shattered pieces of her life. But, Dunyazad is also a penetrating portrait of a country, Egypt, whose citizens are caught in a never-ending spiral of change and aspirations. The vel is set against the backdrop of Egypt's new middle-class where the crushing will to conform to societal and class rms - the Egyptian version of 'keeping up with the Jones'- is present amid the never-ending bustle of Cairo and the pressures of the housing market.
May Telmissany was born in Cairo in 1965. She has an MA in French Literature from Cairo University and is currently preparing a doctorate at the University of Montreal on the representation of the hara (the popular neighborhood) in Egyptian cinema. Dunyazad is her first novel.
Shortlisted for Independent Foreign Fiction Award 2001.