Borders Literature for All Nations 2016 is a Facebook site with the mission: In 2016, a forum for engaging with important issues and events in Africa’s history as recorded or reflected in good books.
Cairo’s Street Stories (AUC Press, Cairo, Egypt) was chosen for review by well-known and esteemed reviewer of African literature, Olatoun Williams. She writes:
We walk about the City of a Thousand Stories, ‘listening’ to Lababidi ‘speak’ with refreshing clarity on a wide range of topics spanning that history. What I have learned from her is fascinating about the evolution of women’s rights and the liberation of women embodied in the full figure of singer – el Sitt – Umm Kulthum….
…Though Lesley Lababidi does not take us on a linear journey, the tour is well-planned. She does not make it difficult to take in the plethora of evidence of foreign occupation manifested not only politically, but in art, language, education, urban planning and in the fact and manner of economic exploitation. Looking at the timeline of foreign invasions through her eyes, it is easy to see why Egypt’s raging identity crises are as inevitable as the annual flooding of the Nile.
My response to Olatoun for choosing to review Cairo’s Street Stories:
Your intellectual critic of CSS is beyond my admiration, beyond my gratitude, almost beyond words…. for your analytical approach as using CSS as a backdrop to study other literary books, that of the past- Mahfouz- and the moving, contemporary poetry of Zahery overwhelmingly left me shaking with delight, perspiring with the desire to walk the Cairo streets, and with pride : I am very, very honored that you chose CSS to examine the intricate texture and history of Cairo.