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Blue Aubergine

Blue Aubergine

Translated by Anthony Calderbank
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 130
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  • Book Info
    Blue Aubergine
    Book Description:

    Blue Aubergine tells the story of a young Egyptian woman, born in 1967, growing up in the wake of Egypt’s defeat of that year, and maturing into womanhood against the social and political upheavals Egypt experienced during the final decades of the twentieth century. Physically and emotionally scarred by her parents and the events of her childhood, and incapable of relating to men, Nada, the ‘Blue Aubergine,’ fumbles through a series of dark and unsettling adventures, resorting first to full Islamic dress with niqab and gloves and then throwing it all off for the flowing hair and tight clothes of an emancipated young graduate student, in an ever more desperate and ultimately failed search for tenderness and affection. A frank assessment of the damage society wreaks by foisting unwise claustrophobic values on its children, this richly woven text shifts unpredictably through time and space like a sojourn in dream time. A mixed crowd of aunts and teachers, classmates and fellow students, Marxists and Islamicists are there to people the Blue Aubergine’s bewildering journey to the knowledge that the maintenance of chastity and innocence and her naïve determination to cling to the threads of silk and lace that bind her to her past bring only misery and isolation.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-190-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Translator’s Introduction
    (pp. ix-x)

    Although Miral al-Tahawy’s novel BlueAubergine, unlikeThe Tent, is set in real time, the text still displays the complex texture that is set to become her hallmark, where present, future, and past mingle and merge, where reference is obscure, where myth and tale hover on the edge of reality, and where dream time is only ever a whisper away. InBlue Aubergine, high classical masters stand side by side with Nada’s own poetical musings, the young letters she sends to her brother Nader, the short texts she writes to understand herself, and the deliberately constructed argument of her Ph.D....

  4. Chapter 1
    (pp. 1-28)

    My mother wanted me to be a princess, so she made me wear shoes that were too small and tethered a small filly, which she named after me, to the camphor tree next to our house. At night she talked to me about her sadness. I would have to become taller because all princesses had slender figures. My father wanted me to be an astronomer. Perhaps I would discover dazzling things and name a galaxy after him. He believed I was a genius and I was obliged to believe it too.

    My brother never openly expressed what he wanted me...

  5. Chapter 2
    (pp. 29-52)

    The toy seller has a doll that walks around in circles. I stopped at his stall and bought a rabbit and a dog. Before I walked away I asked a woman passing by if I should buy him the doll. She hurried off without answering. I put the dog on my desk and held the rabbit in my arms, and I wrote on the wall a new name for the daughter I would have one day and who I was choosing names for. The girls roar with laughter in the morning when they see me with my pigtails and flowery...

  6. Chapter 3
    (pp. 53-80)

    Upstairs in your room, lying naked on the floor in the darkness, your head between your hands, your hands between your legs, curled up next to the wall, sobbing and biting on the rag to stifle your screams. You’ll discover after the convulsions end that it was dirty. And after your body has shed all its bitterness you’ll force yourself to carry on. Here is your tomb and this particular night is the night of your birthday. He knows this, you told him, just like you told him exactly a year ago in that melodramatic voice you’d learned from all...

  7. Glossary
    (pp. 81-82)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 83-86)