Set in the ancient Upper Egyptian village of Karnak against the backdrop of the British campaigns in Sudan, the Second World War, and the war in Palestine, The Collar and the Bracelet is the stunning saga of the Bishari family—a family ripped apart by the violence of history, the dark conduits of human desire, and the rigid social conventions of village life. In a series of masterful narrative circles and repetitions, the novella traces the grim intrigues of Hazina al-Bishari and the inexorable destinies of her son, the exile and notorious bandit Mustafa, her daughter Fahima, tortured by guilt and secret passion, and the tragic doom of her beautiful granddaughter Nabawiya. Yahya Taher Abdullah’s haunting prose distills the rhythmic lyricism of the folk story and weaves it into a uniquely modernist narrative tapestry of love and revenge that beautifully captures the timeless pharaonic landscapes of Upper Egypt and the blind struggles of its inhabitants against poverty, exploitation, and time—themes that are echoed and amplified in the short stories included in this volume, which span the breadth of Abdullah’s tragically short career as one of Egypt’s most brilliant writers of modern fiction.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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