This thoughtful, poignant, personal memoir begins in the Cairo of the 1930s, with the author's schooldays at the Lycee Francais, and moves on to paint a rich social and ethnic picture against a backdrop of momentous events: the accession of King Farouk, the Second World War, the Revolution of 1952, the Suez Crisis of 1956. In the unfolding of these historic times, the sense of place too is strong, with vivid descriptions of places long gone, such as the British barracks, which once stood where the Nile Hilton now stands, and others that have changed substantially, like Midan Sollman Pasha, now Midan Talaat Harb. The author's life then follows an unexpected course of cultural encounter, as he plunges into a high-powered business career in America, Japan, and Europe that takes him high into executive circles - where the lessons he learns of cross-cultural perceptions are both useful and entertaining. Finally, after more than three decades of absence, the author returns to a bewilderingly changed Egypt. He has to ask for help to cross a busy street, a nostaigic visit to his old school brings not pleasure but sadness, and, oppressed by the size and pace of Cairo, he seeks the refuge of the idyllic tree-shaded Pyramids Road that he remembers so well from his childhood - only to find that that, too, has changed beyond recognition. Midhat Gazale recollects people, events, and places with uncommon clarity and a gentle humor. His memoirs will fascinate anyone who has ever asked the questions: What was Egypt like then? and How has it changed?
|Publication date:||30th April 2004|
|Publisher:||The American University in Cairo Press|
Midhat Gazale, formerly president of AT&T France, is special advisor to the Egyptian prime minister for science and technology. He is the author of works on mathematics in both French and English.More About Midhat Gazale