Books·Canadian

The Philistine

A novel by Leila Marshy.

Leila Marshy

Nadia Eid doesn't know it yet, but she's about to change her life. It's the end of the 1980s and she hasn't seen her Palestinian father since he left Montreal years ago to take a job in Egypt, promising to bring her with him.

But now she's 25 and he's missing in action, so she takes matters into her own hands. Booking a short vacation from her boring job and Québecois boyfriend, she calls her father from the Nile Hilton in downtown Cairo. But nothing goes as planned and, stumbling around, Nadia wanders into an art gallery where she meets Manal, a young Egyptian artist who becomes first her guide and then her lover.

Through this unexpected relationship, Nadia rediscovers her roots, her language and her ambitions, as her father demonstrates the unavoidable destiny of becoming a Philistine — the Arabic word for Palestinian. With Manal's career poised to take off and her father's secret life revealed, the First Intifada erupts across the border. (From Linda Leith Publishing)

From the book:

He gave her a fax machine the day she turned twenty. It was cumbersome and took up almost the entire desk. "Happy birthday, laziza! Two decades! You are the future, you are technology. No more envelopes and stamps, no more waiting." It took some vigorous fiddling — What this cable? How this fit, how, how?

"Now when I want to say hello to my daughter poof! the machine will whir and you will have it in your hands." Whir it did. He began his letters — faxes! — the same way every time: Greetings from Egypt! Next to his signature he wrote the timestamped on the top. his enthusiasm for technology never waned. She kept the faxes in a folder, then a second folder, then a third. Until they stopped coming.


From The Philistine by Leila Marshy ©2018. Published by Linda Leith Publishing.

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