Middle East/North African Lit discussion

The Map of Love
This topic is about The Map of Love
59 views
Cruise Salon (Individual reads) > The map of love by Ahdaf Soueif - Egypt

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown_arrow    newest »

Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
I enjoyed reading The Map of Love, it was my first read for Ahdaf Soueif, I like her style , the way she mixes politics and history with fiction ..

If anyone wants to discuss it , feel free to join :)


Hiba Essa (Bibba) | 23 comments Hi Nile Daughter,

I am currently reading "The map of Love" by Ahdaf Soueif for a book club i will be attending next month! This is my first read of Soueif too.

I absolutely love it! Theres a little bit too much politics for my liking but overall I am enjoying the blend of romance, politics, history, culture etc.

Given the situation in Egypt and the entire MENA region at the moment ... it is a great read!


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Hello Hiba ,
I am glad you are enjoying it :D
Inn my opinion the most interesting or domain pat related to politics and history in this book was the comparison between Egypt's damages in the late of the nineteenth century and the twentieth century , by colonisiam in one and corruption in the other one . I admit she may put huge amount of politics in her fictional books – I felt the same reading In the Eye of the Sun but as you said the human touch smooth it somehow … keep us updated then ;)


Natalie *Amberjune* I'm on page 217 and am really loving it so far.
The story reminds me of those times when I am deeply invested in a project and can't wait to leave all the daily fuss behind so I can loose myself again in my project/ book/ whatever it is. The intimacy of slowly unfolding an experience, a story...is one of the things that makes life so precious to me. It seems as if Amal is having a very similar experience with the diaries of Anna and her Grandmother. Beautifully done, really.

So far, I do not think the story is overly political, but maybe that is yet to come?

I appreciate the historical content because it helps me to develop a better feel for Egypt then and now. This being the third book about Egypt I'm reading I am noticing certain patterns, for example that it is common today for younger people to leave their country and live abroad, many people moving to the city...

I did not expect to enjoy this story so much, and now I have to get back to reading:-)


message 5: by Nile daughter (last edited Mar 22, 2011 02:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Natalie , I am very happy about your reaction :D

"it is common today for younger people to leave their country and live abroad, many people moving to the city..."

True , it is part of the economical problems in general and high rates of unemployment and poverty , plus corruption which make it easier for talents to prove themselves abroad (this case is applied in this novel) , so first step to cities , second abroad and with two different types of immigraters .
For the novel , Amal was my second favorite character after Anna , I was not very much fond of (Isabel and Omar) line in general but 'I did not hate it .


Hiba Essa (Bibba) | 23 comments I have 100 pages or so to go and i wont be surprised if it ends up being one of my favorite books!

Natalie: Its a rare book that wins the battle against drooping eye lids! I am overjoyed to know that there are others loving the novel and its characters so deeply!
The blend of romance, culture, politics, corruption, mixed marriage, etc just left me in awe!
I appreciated the historical events covered as it is something i have always wanted to know more about.

I have a question, Dont you think the title is kinda cheesy? I would have loved the book to have a more interesting provoking title. I am still thinking of one though :p

Happy reading!


Hiba Essa (Bibba) | 23 comments Nile daughter wrote: "Natalie , I am very happy about your reaction :D

"it is common today for younger people to leave their country and live abroad, many people moving to the city..."

True , it is part of the eco..."


You couldnt have said it better! Actually, i felt Isabel and Omar part to be very soap opera style :p


message 8: by okyrhoe (last edited Mar 22, 2011 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

okyrhoe | 141 comments As soon as I manage to complete André Aciman's Out of Egypt I'll find my copy of The Map of Love and skim through it again so that I can join in this conversation.

I agree that the title is somewhat misleading. But you must see the Greek edition's cover which is horribly unsuitable!

And here's an interesting link about the author's workspace.


Natalie *Amberjune* okyrhoe wrote: "I agree that the title is somewhat misleading. But you must see the Greek edition's cover which is horribly unsuitable! ..."

hihihi...! This made me laugh out loud. Thank you, Okyrhoe, for posting it.

Out of Egypt sounds like an interesting read, have you written about it before?


Natalie *Amberjune* Hiba wrote: "I have 100 pages or so to go and i wont be surprised if it ends up being one of my favorite books!

Natalie: Its a rare book that wins the battle against drooping eye lids! I am overjoyed to know..."


Hiba, see the title is why I expected a "so-so" read. And one review on my copy of the book says
"A page-turning holiday read", so I thought it would be a slushy romance novel based in Egypt. ;)

But it is so much more and wonderfully written. Unfortunately I did not manage to read much today, so I'm still about half way into the book, hopefully tomorrow I can read some more.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Hiba wrote: I have a question, Dont you think the title is kinda cheesy? I would have loved the book to have a more interesting provoking title. I am still thinking of one though :p.."

Yes I felt I wanted another title but did not think of one !

okyrhoe wrote: "I agree that the title is somewhat misleading. But you must see the Greek edition's cover which is horribly unsuitable!..."

I could not stop myself from laughing ! thanks for the link :)

Here is anther interesting link about Souif , Profile :Her biography , believes and her books .It is interesting ; specially when you read about the struggle being part of the east and west in the same time -which is always reflected in her writing . And if you are interested in reading (in the eye of sun) , this link will help you discover the semi-biography of that novel .

Natalie wrote: "Hiba, see the title is why I expected a "so-so" read. And one review on my copy of the book says
"A page-turning holiday read", so I thought it would be a slushy romance novel based in Egypt. ;)..."


The last element I would describe that novel with is "A page-turning holiday read" :p, oh God marketing can really be a misleading process !


message 12: by okyrhoe (last edited Mar 26, 2011 01:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

okyrhoe | 141 comments Nile daughter wrote: "...link about Souif , Profile"

Interesting article!

What if... the Mills&Boon-ish title is intentional*, and meant as a critique of the popularity of the romance novel genre that perpetuates "Orientalist" bias? Specifically the sheikh romance novels dealing with seductive but dangerous Arab men conquering the hearts of Western women.

*Edited to correct the spelling (originally typed "intential")


message 13: by Nile daughter (last edited Mar 24, 2011 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
okyrhoe wrote: "Nile daughter wrote: "...link about Souif , Profile"

Interesting article!

What if... the Mills&Boon-ish title is intential, and meant as a critique of the popularity of the romance novel gen..."


Oh my god ! have no idea , I even found a full list for that in here , but I thought this is for teens , can someone think of (the map of love) as the same type to sell ?... weird , I even can not believe people can still buy such pictures of the east !
I remember Ahdaf said in Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground
"It troubled me that in almost every book , article , film , TV or radio programme that claimed to be about the part I came from I could never recognise myself or anyone I knew "


NG (ngnoah) | 276 comments Mod
With all this great feedback, I think "Map of Love" will be on my to-read list for this year!


Natalie *Amberjune* Nile daughter wrote: "Ng :)

******

How 25 Jan came out :
Novelist Ahdaf Soueif on Egypt's Revolution: "People Were Rediscovering Themselves , part 2 : The map of love and back to revolution , she was the First f..."


Thanks for posting this Ng. I always love to watch interviews of authors, love to see them "live" and in action. I've finished the book today, really loved it.

The impression I got from her description of the British occupation is that it was overall oppressive and had a negative effect on Egypt's growth and evolution as a country. On the other hand it brought love and fulfillment to the personal lives of Anna and Sharif, who probably would not have had this life together if it weren't for the British Occupation.

I wonder what, if any, was the constructive impact of the British occupation in Egypt?


message 17: by Nile daughter (last edited Apr 06, 2011 12:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "The impression I got from her description of the British occupation is that it was overall oppressive and had a negative effect on Egypt's growth and evolution as a country. On the other hand it brought love and fulfillment to the personal lives of Anna and Sharif, who probably would not have had this life together if it weren't for the British Occupation.

I wonder what, if any, was the constructive impact of the British occupation in Egypt?..."


I am glad you liked the book , and the videos :D

For your question ; " the constructive impact of the British occupation in Egypt" , well I did think of it this way , meaning it is hard for me to think of the positivity of an occupation ; that even if Egypt or India …etc got improved some steps by the British existence ; they paid for it ten more times .but in other words I thought of it in a different - though not contradicted way of yours , it is how to think on the human level and think of poeple as poeple , respecting civilizations (which should be mutual) . Here British poeple are human beings and not necessarily everyone of them reflected the British foreign policy (in the modern part the case became American) . the novel reflects the space where I can disagree with you but still it does not mean : it is I or/versus you . I believe Ahdaf said in anther book about that historical period :

"It is the admiration for the thought and discipline of the west , its literature and music , while working for an end to the west's occupation " .


Natalie *Amberjune* Nile Daughter,

thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter (message 17). Isn't it amazing what greed makes people do.

I have not yet read the Season of Migration. I have it on my nightstand and plan to read it after my current read. I wanted to "save" one of the ME books for April :) I've also read Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery: A Novel earlier last month.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Natalie , you are welcome . I loved hearing from you too , I love exchanging thoughts and ideas ...I love to learn :D

I asked you about (the Season of Migration) because it is related directly to the topic we discussed in the last couple of posts , we will discuss that when you finish then :)

you read (Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery ) , great , did you like it ? (I did not but watched the adapted TV series).


Back to the map of love , I found some Discussion Questions , if anyone is interested in .


Natalie *Amberjune* Nile daughter wrote: "Natalie , you are welcome . I loved hearing from you too , I love exchanging thoughts and ideas ...I love to learn :D

I asked you about (the Season of Migration) because it is related directly t..."


OT, Nile daughter, yes I liked Aunt Safiyya a lot. I it is one of those stories that linger within and create a certain feeling of warmth in my heart. I really enjoyed it. I'm really looking forward to reading Season of Migration, will probably start reading next week.


message 22: by DubaiReader (last edited Apr 04, 2011 01:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

DubaiReader | 29 comments Hiba and I discussed this book this evening at the Kutub Book Group (that has been mentioned before).
It was an interesting discussion that veered off into several fascinating fields:
1) How history is interpreted by the different people involved and how and what we were taught in school.
2) How powerful countries seem to feel no guilt about running rough-shod over others. This book didn't make me feel any pride in being British. Thank goodness we are accepted for who we are on a personal level.
And this led me to wonder why Anna was so completely shunned by her own people - yet the French lady who was also married to an Egyptian, seemed to be able to exist in both camps (Anna was introduced to her early on). Also Mrs Butcher seemed to be able to continue to see Anna with no cost to herself socially. If James could continue to communicate with her because he was back in England, would he have been too frightened for his credibility to have continued seeing her if he'd stayed in Egypt. He was supposed to have been mentoring her, yet there seemed to be no repercussions to his letting her "run off with a native".

Within the book itself we were fascinated by the historical content, some had learned this at school, others, from non Arab countries, were learning for the first time. We didn't feel the book was overly political, more that the political content was hidden within a very readable novel.

We pondered a few questions:
What was going on with the scene in the shrine where Isobel was (may have been) given the third panel of weaving. Was this to be interpreted as a real event or was it imagined?

Was the bit about Isobel's parenthood really relevant to thr novel? A bit soap opera?

Was it right for Isobel and Nur to go back to England?

I was fascinated by the roots of the Arabic language, a topic that was alluded to frequently and I had no idea about (no, to my shame, I have never learned Arabic).

A most enjoyable evening and great that Hiba was able to join us - she had to drive quite a distance to do so!


message 23: by Nile daughter (last edited Apr 06, 2011 01:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "OT, Nile daughter, yes I liked Aunt Safiyya a lot. I it is one of those stories that linger within and create a certain feeling of warmth in my heart. I really enjoyed it. I'm really looking forward to reading Season of Migration, will probably start reading next week...."

Glad you liked it :) looking forward to reading your comment about " Season of Migration" .

*******
DubaiReader
I really enjoyed reading your lines :) I think you are having Anna inside you !

DubaiReader wrote: " What was going on with the scene in the shrine where Isobel was (may have been) given the third panel of weaving. Was this to be interpreted as a real event or was it imagined?

Was the bit about Isobel's parenthood really relevant to the novel? A bit soap opera?


This whole part was weird for me in general, but I think Souief wanted to make some sort of on conformation on how it is Destiny and Isabel said it herself when she got pregnant right away .

DubaiReader wrote: " Was it right for Isobel and Nur to go back to England?

You meant Anna not Isobel (right?) also in this part Sheiref pasha's well was strange for me ,I mean to pull Nur out of her family and roots even if he completely loves and trusts Anna to do the best for their daughter . but would the novel be better for Anna to leave because it became so difficult to stay in Egypt (as British with Egyptian daughter) after his death ? it may would happen any way or - not ? After all I think Souief wanted again to make a stress on not only love but understanding and not mixing issues , that in his last minutes in life Sheiref pasha is fighting the British occupation and yet did not deny his daughter being raised there , I kept thinking about that for a while , it may seem as a betrayal for the national cause for some , but is it really is ? We need to think about that …such a gray zone , no black and white !

DubaiReader wrote: I was fascinated by the roots of the Arabic language, a topic that was alluded to frequently and I had no idea about (no, to my shame, I have never learned Arabic). "

:D I was fascinated myself by Souief's ability to do that ! true she is Egyptian (hearing her speaking Arabic will give you absolutely no doubt about that) , still she lived most of her life in England and her literature skills pushed her to present herself in English not Arabic , so exploring standard Arabic in this admiring way , this was beautiful !


Noor Al-Zubaidi (Noor17) | 7 comments I really loved the book too like many of you. I enjoyed the history and the plot very much. I'd like to reread it someday.

I have to say that the part about Isabel getting pregnant was not necessary, and didn't add anything to the novel. I didn't understand what she meant by it!

I can't wait to read more by Ahdaf Soueif though. :)


JuliiJ | 10 comments I love the sensibilities and aesthetics of Ahdaf. I wish she were more prolific, and am anxiously awaiting her next book. Map of Love is definitely my favorite, and I've read it many times. Though, I remember, before it won the Booker, it was argued that it shouldn't win because of the poor development of Isabel's character, or that people just didn't really like Isabel. I have to agree with the poor development of Isabel, but overall love, love Ahdaf.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
love love Ahdaf as well , her new novel looks like taking for ever !

I thought "the map of love" was only shortlisted , are you sure it won the booker ?


JuliiJ | 10 comments Nile daughter wrote: "love love Ahdaf as well , her new novel looks like taking for ever !

I thought "the map of love" was only shortlisted , are you sure it won the booker ?"


You know what, you're right. I always thought it won, but it was shortlisted! I just checked. Though, still quite a feat to be shortlisted for Booker. I'm happy to see other fans on here, too.


Dana | 7 comments I read this a few years ago and absolutely loved it!


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 104 comments I was pleased to see this one show up at the library for me yesterday. At first, I didn't remember exactly why I ordered it, then I looked down my 'groups' lists this morning and realized it was for this particular group.

Instead of griping to myself that I wasn't able to get it in audio, or e-book for my boogie machine (Sony\Reader), I'll open the actually BOOK and start reading through it.

I usually give a book the Fifty-Page-Rule - if it doesn't 'have me in its power' after the first fifty pages, it goes back to the library, toot-sweet.

I'm just trying to think - have I read anything else by this author? No . . . I don't think so. Well, we'll see - I try to get out on my e-trike in the mornings. This usually involves sitting on Timothy's patio for a while. Sometimes, I'll take a book with me to see how I like it.

If not, I'll make it my 'bedside-before-nap' looksee today.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1894 comments Mod
Carly wrote: "I was pleased to see this one show up at the library for me yesterday. At first, I didn't remember exactly why I ordered it, then I looked down my 'groups' lists this morning and realized it was fo..."

Hi Carly , glad to know you will read the book , hope you will like it .

***BTW , This thread was opened long time ago , now we opened a new thread for the new discussion in here :

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Map of Love (other topics)
In the Eye of the Sun (other topics)
Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground (other topics)
Season of Migration to the North (other topics)
Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Ahdaf Soueif (other topics)