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Traces of Enayat

Iman Mersal

Regular price $28.95

From one of the preeminent poets of the Arab-speaking world, a brilliant work of creative nonfiction retracing the mysterious life and erasure of Egyptian literature’s tragic heroine.

Cairo, 1963: four years before her lone novel is finally published, the writer Enayat al-Zayyat takes her own life at age 27. For the next three decades, it’s as if Enayat never existed at all.

Years later, when celebrated Egyptian poet Iman Mersal stumbles upon Enayat’s long-forgotten Love and Silence in a Cairo book stall, she embarks on a journey of reflection and rediscovery that leads her ever closer to the world and work of Enayat al-Zayyat.

In this luminous biographical detective story, Mersal retraces Enayat’s life and afterlife though interviews with family members and friend, even tracking down the apartments, schools, and sanatoriums where Enayat spent her days. As Mersal maps two simultaneous psychogeographies—from the glamor of golden-age Egyptian cinema to the Cairo of Mersal’s own past—a remarkable portrait emerges of two women striving to live on their own terms.

With Traces of Enayat, Iman Mersal embraces the reciprocal relationship between a text and its reader, between past and present, between author and subject.

Paperback | 214 pages | 6.45" x 8.35"