Specters by Radwa Ashour
Winner of the Cairo International Book Fair Prize
Specters tells the story of Radwa and Shagar, two women born the same day. The narrative alternates between their childhoods, their work lives (one a professor of literature and the other of history), their personal relationships, and their respective books. With her novel's structure, Ashour pays tribute to the Arab qareen (double or companion, and sometimes demon) and the ancient Egyptian ka, the spirit that is born with and accompanies an individual through life, and beyond.
This lively metafictional novel is a mix of genres: part autobiography, part oral history, part documentary, part fiction. As the narrative moves back and forth between Radwa's novelSpecters and Shagar's history Specters (about the massacre at Deir Yassin in April 1948), Ashour unites the projects of history and literature and blurs the boundaries between the personal and the political in one compellingly readable meditation on contemporary life in a fractured world.