Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

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Foreword

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pp. vii-xiv

Poet, dramatist, essayist, novelist, wife, mother, grandmother— Andree Chedid is one of France's outstanding literary figures. Her way is profound and sensitive, her vision innovative in its archetypal delineations, her aesthetic is lyrical, dense, symbolistic—a blend of the real and the unreal,...

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Translator's Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

This translation of Andree Chedid's novel Le Sommeil délivré is based partly upon a literal rendering of the work from French to English by Roselyne Eddé. I am very grateful for the existence of this earlier text, for it facilitated my own work by providing a very useful foundation on which I was ...

Part One

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1

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pp. 3-19

The rays of the sun were already less blinding as they fell on the walk of the white house. In the distance an arm of the Nile stretched toward the suppleness of a shadow. Rachida came outside to breathe the freshness and, just as she did every evening, she rested her body against the grayish white wall, waiting for her brother to return. Her bun of gray hair and her...

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2

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pp. 20-33

Those Sunday evenings!
The car rolled through the city, its hood sleek and shiny, its windows closed. Inside were wood panels and dark leather. The house, the garden, the well-known faces were now far behind us. The car rolled past the shops, the street lamps, the sidewalks. It came to a sudden stop in the square which was dominated by the huge...

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3

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pp. 34-44

The arrival of Sunday brought the taste of hope to the tip of your tongue. Even though memories of past disappointments assailed you, after a week of waiting, one began to hope once again. On those mornings I brushed my dress and did my hair carefully. The passing hours had a meaning; they brought me nearer to leaving....

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4

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pp. 45-60

One morning the door was opened during the middle of class. It was the sister who served as concierge. Her starched white cowl, framing her face, shook slightly as she spoke. I must hurry, she said. I was wanted in the sitting room....

Part Two

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5

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pp. 63-74

It was our wedding day. We had come by train. Abou Sliman, Boutros's servant, was waiting at the station to drive us to the farm. I was still wearing my white satin dress. Through a shortcut we soon reached the open country. It spread out in a flat pattern that was broken now and then by the sail of a felucca. The trees leaning over the water were caressed by the...

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6

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pp. 75-85

The first month went by slowly. During the day I watched Abou Sliman carry his feather duster limply, like an unwanted object attached to his wrist. Around Abou Sliman there was a tissue woven of habits inside of which he moved with an absent air and a rough and tragic expression. In his face was incarnated all the sadness in the world. His eyes did not seem ...

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7

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pp. 86-100

Time passed. I allowed it to pass. The mirror attached to the coatstand in the entrance hall confronted me brutally with the past eight years. I was only twenty-four, but what meaning is there in numbers? When I glanced at my face by accident I at first wanted to flee, then I came closer and looked at it. My eyelids were puffy. A layer of dull fat had settled...

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8

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pp. 101-110

The desire for a child haunted me. Two years had passed since we had been to see the Sheikha. I had not expected a miracle but I was filled with remorse at the thought that I had perhaps shaken Om el Kher's faith, for she hardly spoke to me anymore, only coming when she was needed. I wondered if she were angry with me. But so few things ...

Part Three

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9

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pp. 113-121

With Mia I rediscovered my life. My sadness dropped away like a dead skin. Physically, too, I was changing. My body was slimmer. I shook off the indifference which had turned it into an inert mass to be dragged about. Everything, even my smallest gesture, was alive. I felt the ground under my feet and the air on my cheeks. Mia's body...

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10

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pp. 122-129

Mia was six years old and she came to my waist. Boutros had finally given me permission to take her to town to buy her some clothes.
Abou Sliman took us to the station; the town was two hours away. In the compartment of the train Mia sat on my knee. I felt as if I were leaving behind an entire world. The train advanced...

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11

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pp. 130-138

I no longer wanted to live.
Was this life, these days which followed one another without meaning? Now I suffered from something much deeper than boredom. Sleep no longer had the power to soothe me....

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12

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pp. 139-142

In the entrance where the velvet drapes have been torn down by the crowd, Ammal stands on tiptoe trying to catch a glimpse of Samya.
Hussein, the first to go in, sees everything in spite of his weak eyes. Shouts clash like sticks knocking together. Rachida speaks loudly. Barsoum feels the heat climbing in his arms:...