Dongola: A Novel of Nubia

Dongola: A Novel of Nubia

AUC Press

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Idris Ali

In this, the first Nubian novel ever translated, Awad Shalali, a Nubian worker in modern Egypt, dreams of DongolaÑthe capital of medieval Nubia, now lost to the flood waters of the Aswan High Dam. In Dongola, the Nubians reached their zenith. They defeated and dominated Upper Egypt, and their archers, deadly accurate in battle, were renowned as Òthe bowmen of the glance.Ó Halima, AwadÕs wife, must deal with the reality of todayÕs Nubia, a poverty-stricken bottomland. Men like Awad now work in Cairo for good wages while the women remain at home in squalor, ignorant of the glory now covered by the NileÕs water. Left to tend AwadÕs sick mother and his dying country, Halima grows despondent and learns the truth behind the Upper Egyptian lyric: ÒTime, you are a traitorÑwhat have you done with my love?Ó
Through his charactersÕ pain and suffering, Idris Ali paints in vibrant detail, with wit and a keen sense of historyÕs absurdities, the story of cultures and hearts divided, of lost lands, impossible dreams, and abandoned loves. Dongola received the University of Arkansas Press Award for Arabic Literature in Translation in 1997.

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