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Synopsis

Bodour, a distinguished literary critic, carries with her a dark secret. As a young university student, she fell in love with a political activist and gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Zeina, whom she abandoned on the streets of Cairo. Zeina grows up to become one of Egypt's most beloved entertainers, despite being deprived of a family name and a home. Bodour in turn remains trapped in a loveless marriage, pining for her daughter and lost love. In an attempt to find solace, she writes a fictionalised account of her life, which then mysteriously gets stolen. Set against the backdrop of revolution in Cairo, Zeina is a tale about regret, loss and the courage it takes for a mother to face up to the mistakes of her past. 'Read this novel to grasp the bravery of El Saadawi's activism in Egypt or to learn more about her country than we saw on our TV screens this spring...' Guardian 'An uncompromising attack on patriarchy, power and hypocrisy in modern-day Egypt' The Times 'More than any other woman, El Saadawi has come to embody the trials of Arab feminism.' San Francisco Chronicle 'Nawal El Saadawi is a formidable force in the international world of literature.' Philip Womack, New Humanist 'El Saadawi writes with directness and passion.' New York Times 'A poignant and brave writer' Marie Claire

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