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The Pistachio Seller

Reem Bassiouney and translated from the Arabic by Osman Nusairi

Publication Year: 2009

"It was Saturday. I remember. And while he was standing on a step ladder in the hall, changing a light bulb in the faint light coming through the window, I decided to love him." So begins this wonderfully exuberant novel of quixotic adolescent longing and the enduring search for self. Set in middle-class urban Egypt, the story chronicles young Wafaa’s struggle to come to terms with her own sexuality and her romantic infatuation with her cousin Ashraf, a spoiled and confident young Egyptian who was educated in England. Ashraf’s worldliness and carefree attitudes stand in sharp contrast to Wafaa’s provincial Islamic piousness.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. ix

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p. xi

Thank you to all those who helped in this project directly or indirectly: to Michael Beard, whose friendship is one of the best gift s I got out of writing, and to Adnan Haydar, for his support and encouragement. Thank you to all the readers...

The Journey

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pp. 1-80

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pp. 3-16

How does a woman fall in love? When she sees a man from a different angle. It was a Saturday. Th e electricity was out for two hours. When it came back on, most of the light...

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pp. 17-35

He sighed, relieved and comfortable in the apartment he had rented in the Zamalek quarter, Cairo’s upper-class residential district. It had been a difficult week, but it was over, and his life in Egypt could finally start! Tomorrow he would...

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pp. 36-58

He held the remote control and sent the toy car fast in the direction of the kitchen. Then he changed its direction—the living room, the hall, and then the kitchen again. The car would go around the table, then into the hall and the kitchen...

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pp. 59-80

He was obviously under extreme stress as he was talking to Ismail. “What do you mean, you don’t know where she is? What prison? What are they doing to her? You can’t abandon your sister like this. Do something. I’m going to do...


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pp. 81-148

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pp. 83-98

No sooner had he departed than I found myself following closely the news of Lubna, as if she were the link between me and him. I wanted to know whether he had contacted her and whether he still wanted her. I did not set eyes on her...

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pp. 99-148

In London, it was a sunny, bright, and beautiful day. Th e moment of confrontation between Ashraf’s mother and his father, Dr. Mahmoud Daawood, had come. When tension already reigned in the traditional...

A Passport

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pp. 151-160

Ashraf looked at his Egyptian passport and then at his American passport and pondered which one to choose. He looked at the two lines, the one for Egyptians, and the other for non-Egyptians. The line for the non-Egyptians was...

Author’s Note

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pp. 161-162

E-ISBN-13: 9780815650669
E-ISBN-10: 0815650663
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815609193
Print-ISBN-10: 0815609191

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 785782967
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Pistachio Seller

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