Unwilling to recant his Nasserist beliefs, the unnamed narrator is an Egyptian journalist in a self-imposed exile in Europe after conflict with the management of his newspaper and a divorce from his wife. Absorbed in introspection over his impotent position at the paper and in ill health, he suddenly finds himself faced with two issues he cannot ignore: the escalating tensions in Israeli-occupied Lebanon and, more personally, an unexpected love affair with a much younger Austrian woman, Brigitte.
Bahaa Taher was born in 1935 in Luxor and published his first short story in 1964. After living in Switzerland in the 1980s and ’90s, he returned to Egypt and received much literary acclaim. He received the State Award of Merit in Literature, Egypt’s highest honour for writing. In 2008 Bahaa Taher became the first writer to be awarded the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the ‘Arabic booker’) for his novel Sunset Oasis.