by Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love is a multi-generational story that takes place in both New York and Cairo.
A woman named Isabel meets a famous Egyptian conductor at a party in Manhattan, and he offers to give her names of friends in Cairo, knowing she’s headed there to research a project. She’s found some old letters from her grandmother, and wants to trace them, and learn her family’s story.
The conductor sends her to his sister, and together the woman piece together the story of Lady Winterbourne, and her romance with Sharif Pasha al Barudi in turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th) Egypt.
It’s a great love story, as well as an interesting portrait of modern Egypt.