A World He Left Behind -by Fathy Fares
Paperback: 374 pages
Trim size: 215x 140 mm
This novel traces the life of a typical Egyptian middle class family. It explores the interaction between parents and their children, the relationships between the siblings and the preference given to the firstborn son in the family.
It also shows how women are treated; how they stand in the community and the attachment they have to their parents and family before and after their arranged marriage.
In this novel, the resentment of Tarik against the controlling attitude of his older brother Nader creates constant tension in the El-Masry family. Nader forces his sister Samiha to leave school when she reaches the age of fifteen.
Tarik is part of a generation with nationalist feelings utterly committed to their country’s cause, fighting against colonialism and corruption.
The characters are set in two political eras. The first is the end of Monarchy and Colonial rule, followed by the early time of the 1952 revolution.
The book deals with the influence on Tarik’s family of customs dating back to Ancient Egyptian culture. It portrays how Tarik and his extended family interact with Christian and other Muslim families, the two components of the Egyptian society who, live side by side with mutual understanding. It also shows the influence of superstition and the effect of religion on the daily actions and expressions of the El Masry’s extended family.
The novel reaches down into the depth of the Egyptians’ heart and mind where wisdom and madness are mixed together and laughing jokes surmounting sadness and misery.
The novel also shows how corruption interferes with people’s life. This leads to the rebellion of young people, Tarik’s generation, who carry the consequences of speaking out and standing up against practices of authorities.
As a result, Tarik is imprisoned like many others. They are disappointed and feel betrayed by the failure of the new regime to improve their lives.
Tarik finally decides to leave the upheaval of his country after many disappointments, frustration and experience with corrupt officials.
“This is a fascinating enjoyable and authentic story, based on real life experiences of many Egyptians. Reading this novel will take you down into the depths of the Egyptians heart and mind, where wisdom and madness are mixed together, laughing jokes surmounting sadness and misery, and all human conflicting feelings and attitudes. As an Australian of Egyptian origins and background myself, I found this novel to be most enjoyable as well as informative in the same time. And as a former Expert and Consultant for an international organization concerned with development of education and cultures of the world, I would recommend this novel as a good example of literary work that can help create mutual understanding among different peoples of the world. Such understanding is badly needed for our modern world.”
— Mohamed Ades, Author and translator of many books, and writer of tens of articles published in six magazines
“The author of this novel, Fathy Fares, gives readers an unusual and somewhat intimate introduction to the everyday lives of Egyptians back in the 1950s. This novel gives readers a wonderful insight — we learn their customs, prayer habits and their views on many things as we spend our time following their daily lives.”
— John Morrow’s ‘Pick of the Week’