In this madcap picaresque, we follow Fin, an Irish journalist, as he spends a day in the streets of Cairo pursuing a story of buried treasure that he believes will restore his floundering career at an English-language newspaper there. Fin seeks a �pacy linear narrative with obvious and satisfying climaxes,� but Somerville leads us, instead, down numerous back alleys and side streets, with frequent breaks for mint tea. The best moments are those of unbridled irreverence, such as when Fin, who is conversant only in �gastronomical Arabic,� becomes �inappropriately passionate� on the subject of the perfect kebab (the secret ingredient is thyme), or when we are told that the desert air is �so pure you can smell the farts of the camels.� Fin�s surreal experiences amid Cairo�s chaos are a vivid reminder of the challenges inherent in encountering the foreign, and the rewards of �not only learning to accept, but inhabit� difference.
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About the Author
Rowan Somerville has worked in television, film, and radio, and has also pursued his fortunes in Egypt. He lives in rural Ireland. This is his first novel.