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Red Wine

Red Wine

Amina Zaydan
Translated by Sally Gomaa
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Red Wine
    Book Description:

    Suzie Mohamad Galal, born in the Egyptian city of Suez during the War of Attrition in the late 1960s, is a woman of inner conflicts, at once a fighter and a lover, who traverses the boundaries of ethnicity and religion. Her whole life is intricately tied to the wars and political events taking place in Egypt. But as she grapples with where to begin her story of personal and national crises, questions of narration arise: which metaphor best serves the layers of meaning she wants to communicate, and whose voice is telling the story anyway? Red Wine is both timely in its attention to the issues of state brutality, religious extremism, and gender, and timeless in the way it deals with the themes of coming of age, guilt, and sadness.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-181-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Overture: Forty Years of Slowness
    (pp. 1-14)

    This time was different from all the others. I did not run away or hide behind my mother’s mirror or submit to my uncle’s will as I did every other time, going along with what my father would always advise, “Be like the palm trees, above grudges, yielding their best fruits when stones are thrown at them.”

    No, not again. If palm trees were handled gently, they would yield their best fruits: dark, sweet dates would fall off ripened by the pure air of great heights.

    This time I did something so different and so right that it helped me...

  3. Act 1 Cosmopolitan: A Woman at Age Ten
    (pp. 15-58)

    The image is received on two levels: one is an integer and cannot be divided; the other is floating and temporal and may later turn into the vicious memory of something like mass murder. Cartloads of bodies are drawn by a donkey that shudders but can’t shake off the flies sticking to its open sores or to the blood-smeared corpses with obsequious flags. The bombing of historic buildings, the sudden fumes of bursting missiles, the massive violence and cruelty together with the oppressive heat breed hostility among the living and discourage their communication.

    “God is great; God is great. …...

  4. Act 2 Marxism: At First Sight
    (pp. 59-98)

    I did not expect that my life would be so empty and that I would be referring to Andrea as the one who ‘used to’ do such and such. … A memory smeared with his own blood, blood spilled over bright yellow sand as long as his last journey. I lost trace of him after I saw the last drop of blood fade in the light coming out of his window until it evaporated and disappeared in the darkness.

    The same darkness enveloped me and my mother when Andrea’s door was gently closed in our faces. That hurt her so...

  5. Act 3 Schizophrenia: Plausible and Predictable
    (pp. 99-148)

    My lucky charms were usually silver coins. I would replace them with other coins whenever I thought they were no longer effective, or never were, but only as long as I found the new ones by accident.

    Everything seemed to be happening by accident during the time I lived with Essam, which I swear that I cannot clearly remember except for a few happy incidents that pass through my mind like terrifying ghosts. My witness is the bright silver moon I see through the branches of the palm tree outside my mother’s window that has now grown taller than our...

  6. Act 4 Feminist: Forty in One
    (pp. 149-186)

    From which ending should I begin? This is the question to which I had devoted myself before I decided to emerge from the blank space of my self-imposed isolation.

    When I began to arrange for reconnecting to the world and looking for true friends, Siham was the first one I thought of. She was the one who found me first and paid me a surprise visit at my father’s house.

    I was living by myself on the third floor before it was even finished. I moved my mother’s mirror and my father’s manual sewing machine in, thinking I might need...

  7. Finale
    (pp. 187-192)

    As if a curtain was drawn over a person I once used to be, I became someone else, someone so cruel that she could commit murder without losing her smile. I shot Asaad with several verbal bullets: my decision to travel to find Andrea, and the cancer-confirming results of his medical tests.

    Feelings of guilt torment me. I blame my behavior on drugs. Drugs make people say all sorts of things. That does not alleviate my guilt as usual. In the meantime, Asaad tries to wash his hands and his conscience clean. He returns the hotel deed to the Georgianis....

  8. Glossary
    (pp. 193-198)