“You shine .. you shine.” Rasha Adly recreates history with a novel

“You Shine … You Light” (Arab House of Science Publishers) is the tenth novel in the career of Egyptian novelist Rasha Adly, which she started in 2012 with the novel “The Sound of Silence” and its events revolve around , with its ancient and contemporary threads, about the mystery surrounding the ancient Egyptian monuments represented by “The Fayoum Mummies.” »And the secrets that surround it. It strives to solve this mystery and reveal those secrets. On the sidelines of this central issue, the novel raises questions about occupation and tyranny, corruption and antiquities smuggling, racism, political asylum, artistic research, and other things that abound in the reference world to which it refers, whether old or contemporary. During this process, the private joins the general; At the private level, old scores are settled, heavy darkness is lifted and things are set back to normal. At the general level, historical errors are corrected, and personalities are rehabilitated, whose role in confronting tyranny and the revolution against the Roman occupation of ancient Egypt has been obscured.

contemporary and old

There are two threads that organize the events in the novel; The first contemporary plays between Florence, Rome, Italian Bormida, Alexandria, Fayoum and Egyptian Cairo, during the last decade of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century. And each of them has a complementary role to the crucial role. The second is an old one set in Alexandria and Fayoum, in the first century AD, and Serena, the wife of the viceroy, plays a crucial role in it, and is surrounded by the father, husband, teacher, friend and revolutionary . , whose roles are in some way related to the crucial role.
So the two threads in the narrative time, somewhere, characters, the beginning and the end separate, and they cross each other in some fictional place (Alexandria, Cairo, Fayoum) and the subject of interest (Egyptian antiquities) and the centrality of women (Raneem, Serena) and the existence of a cause to fight for (revenge for the betrayed father and revenge against the oppressor) and the role of the father (Mustafa, Octavius) and the role of the friend (Yazn, Unas) and the type of narrative (historical). Were it not for the intersections mentioned above, it would be possible to say that we are facing two narratives in one narrative. These two separation and intersection form two manifestations of the dialectical relationship between the two threads whose manifestations vary between: intersection, divergence, symmetry, parallelism and complementarity. Perhaps a comparison between these two threads will illuminate the different manifestations of this dialectical relationship, whether in form or content, which we set forth below:

Form and content

In the figure, the contemporary series consists of 47 narrative units spanning 319 pages, while the ancient series consists of 24 narrative units spanning 122 pages. The old series is therefore slightly more than half of the contemporary series in terms of the number of narrative units, and much less than half of it in terms of the number of pages. The same goes for the pace of succession between the two threads, so the first dominates the second at the beginning and end of the novel, and they are somewhat similar in the middle. This formal predominance of the first thread over the second in the number of narrative units and pages and the pace of textual succession, finds its translation in the body of the novel, so that the heroine of the novel in the first thread achieves her goals and avenges her father and defeat his oppressor, revealing the scientific truth associated with “Fayoum mummies” and removing the historical injustice from his heroine. The second corps, the beautiful Egyptian / Greek woman Serena, the wife of the viceroy who has been wronged by her husband and history, while the latter fails to achieve her goals of avenging her father, punishing her murderous husband and the prize to pay to stand up against injustice and occupation. There is thus a proportionality between the quantitative form and the qualitative content in the novel.

Women’s Championship

Content, and by comparing the two central characters in the novel, it can be said that the novelist attributes the honor of heroism to women in the two narrative lines, and perhaps she intends from this to confront her ability throughout history to confront injustice, to emphasize, privately and publicly, and her willingness to pay the price, and to achieve her goals now or after a while. And she does it, often with the support of the man, and so she does not fall into the trap of feminism. The woman in today’s corps is a victim who knew how to turn her weaknesses into strengths that she used her struggle. with life, and achieves a resounding victory at the end of the novel; This is indicated by the life of the heroine of the thread, Raneem Mustafa Abdel Mawla, in her various stations; In her childhood she suffered from the stigma of asylum, and she was a few months old when her family arrived at the port of Naples in 1990 to escape the authorities’ rush to her daring journalist father. Hard conditions, she excels in her studies, and she uses excellence as a weapon to integrate into the new society. In her adolescence, and because of this superiority, she received a scholarship to continue her university education at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, which only the children of the rich retained, and used the same weapon to advance the conditional scholarship keep. maintain the beneficiary’s superiority. In her youth, she climbed the career ladder to hold the position of curator of the Uffizi Museum in Florence, allowing her to become involved in a network of qualitative relationships in her field of work leading to her candidacy for an international conference. in Rome on “Fayoum Mummies,” which is the subject of her university thesis.

As for the woman in the old corps, she uses her intelligence, abilities and relationships to free her people from the Roman occupation and avenge her murdered father, but the circumstances are stronger than them, which leads to her escaping, hiding and died by poison, and if her friend, the painter Unas, had not painted a picture of her, her mention would have disappeared forever.


During her work on the project, with the aim of clearing up the mystery surrounding the mummies and finding a scientific explanation for the distinctive signs in the paintings they depict, she invests her experience and knowledge and travels to Egypt, and the destiny wants to find, in the course of the search, Alaa Al-Sawaf, the emperor of corruption and antiquities trader who has a painting of one of the “mummies.” Fayoum “for sale, and he is the one who made her father seek refuge in Italy. And the suffering of her family to poverty, homelessness and alienation, so she has both public and personal scientific goals. Sawaf exposing himself and throwing him in jail, on the other hand.
Despite the successes that the heroine of the contemporary thread has achieved in her academic and practical life, she could not free herself from her past that awaited her with every success in the form of a poor girl sticking her tongue out at her would not extend. and insulted her, and she was unable to confront her, and she could not alleviate the feeling of inadequacy.Safety after her father’s early death. Therefore, when she gets to know Yazan, the Lebanese who is interested in the arts and ancient civilizations, her feelings are confused, and she thinks she is in love with him, especially because he helps her in her project with money, effort, guidance and encouragement , without keeping up with her to express his feelings towards her, but as soon as her double goal is reached to explain the mystery of the paintings.And revenge for her father until she calms down on her past and present, regains her lost balance and reconciliation with life.
other fate
As for the woman in the old corps, she uses her intelligence, abilities and relationships to free her people from the Roman occupation and avenge her murdered father, but the circumstances are stronger than them, which leads to her escaping, hiding and died by poison, and if her friend, the painter Unas, had not painted a picture of her, her mention would have disappeared forever. It is indicated by the life of a beautiful woman, descended from an Egyptian father and a Greek mother. Serena, who made the mistake of a lifetime by marrying Leonardos, the Roman viceroy of Egypt, discovered late in his brutality and sadism, especially in launching wild beasts at his opponents and making matters worse by her father Octavius Exposing to The same fate lies before her, which makes her plan to take revenge on him and free her people from his oppression, therefore she secretly works with her rebel friends to achieve her dual purpose, but the winds do not run as desired through her ship, so predatory monsters are launched on the defenseless rebels, and those who have survived flee. She in turn flees after her cooperation with them is revealed. , and she dies with her friends with the poison that the husband of his husbands instructed to smear in them. So the man and history oppress her, but the art and the novel do justice to her, so her friend Unas draws her, and Rasha Adly tells her story. So we see that there is a symmetry between the two protagonists in the novel: the father’s support for each of them, his exposure to the ruling government’s damage, every attempt to avenge her father, the presence of a supportive friend for each, and their acceptance of an important issue. It’s a symmetry that reaches the point of identification between the two heroines when Raneem stands in front of Serena’s painting after the restoration and sees herself in it after she has helped to bring it back to life.
And after that, “You Shine … You Shine” is a confident step in Adly’s fictional career, and it will surely be followed by other steps that will consolidate her novel story, especially since the novel at that time was a kind of scientific research for to a large extent by combining the pleasure of form and the usefulness of content, and we suffice to point out the juxtaposition of a number of fields of knowledge. In her tenth novel it ranges from history, art history, art criticism, architectural style, archeology , history of civilization, and others, which makes its reader not return from the spoils of re-reading. Once again, Rasha Adly proves her professionalism as a novelist and her ability to navigate between narrative threads and narrative times, real places, and content binaries with carefully calculated steps, making her worthy of her position on the map of the Arabic novel.

Lebanese author

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