The Book of Epiphanies: An Egyptian Novel

The Book of Epiphanies: An Egyptian Novel

AUC Press

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Gamal al-Ghitani

Upon returning from a trip abroad, the authorÐnarrator learns that his father has died during his absence. Crushed with grief and guilt, he begins a journey of discovery of self and existence. Beset by doubts and at times despair, he almost gives up, but then is granted the priceless gift of appearing before the mythicalÐmystical Diwan, the council that oversees all affairs of this world, keeping a record of everything that has ever happened or existed and righting wrongs past and present. With the guidance of the Great Master, the ProphetÕs grandson al-Husayn, he is able to witness events of his fatherÕs life, his own life, and that of his beleaguered country as he progresses through Sufi states and stations.
Granted the ability to be in several places and various eras simultaneously, the narrator is able to bring together heroes and villains and great events and debacles in EgyptÕs and all of IslamÕs history. Alternating scenes depict the historical martyrdom of al-Husayn in Karbala, and a fantastical confrontation between two camps fighting over the soul of Egypt: in one camp we meet President Gamal Abdel Nasser, al-Husayn, the narratorÕs own father, and a ragtag army of valiant but ill-equipped Egyptians in combat with one led by Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin.
This surrealist novel with political and mystical overtones and an edge of satire reveals one of EgyptÕs greatest living writers at his finest.

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