By Peter Stothard
While Peter Stothard, editor of the days Literary complement, unearths himself stranded in Alexandria within the iciness of 2010 after his flight to South Africa has been cancelled, he units out to discover a country on the point of revolution. Guided by means of local Egyptians, Stothard lines his personal life-long curiosity within the heritage of Cleopatra, and his repeated failure to jot down the ebook approximately her that he had continually sought after to.
In Alexandria, half memoir and half go back and forth literature, Stothard used to be the attractions and sounds of the traditional urban to reconnect with the formative reports of his adolescence schooling, and his literary profession. depression and occasionally funny, Alexandria deals a first-hand glimpse into the fracturing police kingdom of Hosni Mubarak, prior to the rebellion in Tahir sq. replaced every thing.
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Extra info for Alexandria - The Last Nights of Cleopatra
There were many advantages for us on these company streets. Almost every family had a TV set, assembled during our fathers’ lunch-breaks rather than bought in a shop. We had miniature radios when most of the country still kept the BBC in big wooden boxes: Professor Rame’s career began with the bedroom sound of science fiction, bluff Englishmen bringing their voices to Mars and the Moon. Books, by contrast, were rare. T. Coleridge, the title printed in such a way that for years I thought that the poet was a saint.
Once the Cold War was over he had to switch his interests to foreign and smaller customers. Once the Russian warships had left Egypt’s biggest harbour, there were opportunities here both for arms-dealers selling modern radar dishes and for archaeologists uncovering ancient lighthouse parts. Alexandria hosted a navy which needed help against its enemies and that was the kind of place my father sought for the rest of his life. In 1960 he much approved of the schoolteacher who told us vicious war stories from ancient myth to illustrate the virtues of modern deterrence.
First he had to make some hospital visits. I too need to pause. Before I begin this last Cleopatra, the one that this time I will finish, I want to describe myself a little, to try to see myself as I see Socratis or Mahmoud or as I see the past, revealing first what is easiest to reveal. So what do I see? First: a sixty-year-old man, settling into his room, as tall as a wardrobe, as broad as a pillow, hair the colour of a greying sheet, stubble like a scratchy blanket and a long horizontal scar across his stomach like the crack in the door.