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The Pistachio Seller [Hardcover]

Reem Bassiouney , Osman Nusairi

Price: CDN$ 32.94 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2009 Middle East Literature in Translation
'It was Saturday. I remember. And while he was standing on a step ladder in the hall, changing a light bulb in the faint light coming through the window, I decided to love him'. So begins this wonderfully exuberant novel of quixotic adolescent longing and the enduring search for self. Set in middle-class urban Egypt, the story chronicles young Wafaa's struggle to come to terms with her own sexuality and her romantic infatuation with her cousin Ashraf, a spoiled and confident young Egyptian who was educated in England. Ashraf's worldliness and carefree attitudes stand in sharp contrast to Wafaa's provincial Islamic piousness. As both mature they find outside events encroaching upon their sheltered lives, forcing each to confront challenges to their youthful ideologies. Ashraf is chastened by an economic turnaround that takes him to the United States as an impoverished immigrant, and Wafaa begins to question her rigid fundamentalist beliefs that seem increasingly inadequate to make sense of the complex world around her. Reem Bassiouney effortlessly captures the voices of her characters, bringing them to life and allowing the reader to be fully immersed in their lives as they unfold in moving, often funny, and eventually triumphant ways. The Pistachio Seller introduces Bassiouney's work to an English audience for the first time.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815609191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815609193
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,120,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Reem Bassiouney is an acclaimed contemporary Arabic writer. She has published five novels in the Middle East including The Smell of the Sea. She is assistant professor of Arabic at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Osman Nusairi is a theater director whose plays have been broadcast by BBC World Radio and performed in London theaters. He is the translator of Nawal El-Saadawi's novel Two Women in One.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun read about Egyptian culture Jan. 10 2010
By Story Circle Book Reviews - Published on
Voted best novel of the year in 2006 by the International Alexandria Library, The Pistachio Seller by Reem Bassiouney is now translated from Arabic so that English readers can enjoy a delightful read.

This story begins with adolescent love as Wafaa, a young Egyptian girl, says with a sense of fun and humor: "It was Saturday. I remember. And while he was standing on a step ladder in the hall, changing a light bulb in the faint light coming through the window, I decided to love him."

Raised in a strict Islamic culture, young Wafaa struggles to come to grips with her own beliefs and the confusing conflicts of a young coming of age body. She meets her cousin Ashraf when he visits from England and develops a healthy respect and growing admiration for her world-traveled and educated older cousin.

Bassiouney lends much factual detail and precise description of the Islam and Egyptian cultures to her story and treats touchy subjects with realism and light humor. The characters are so well defined as to believe the story to be a true narrative of the characters. At times, I wanted to laugh out loud at the amusing thoughts and conversations that two adverse upbringings created in Wafaa and Ashraf. Other times I wanted to slap the characters for their actions and attitudes.

Read The Pistachio Seller through to the end to see how the characters grow and inter-relate with each other and society. Does Wafaa get her man? Read it to see if she does and learn more about the Islamic culture and have fun doing it.

by Rhonda Esakov
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating introduction to Egypt Oct. 11 2012
By BMujica - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bassiouney offers an in-depth exploration of a culture struggling with tradition and modernization, changing expectations for women, and the challenge of foreign influences. The protagonist is a well educated young woman determined to remain faithful to her own traditional ideals, while her love interest is a spoiled, selfish young man whose British upbringing has divorced him from his Egyptian identity. How these two different perspectives are reconciled is the crux of the story.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful novel Nov. 1 2009
By R. Basyouni - Published on
I liked this novels so much. The characters are so lively and I learned so much about the Arab world. it is funny as well Mark

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