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A journey through Central Asia and beyond, Moon over Samarqand is the story of one Egyptian's quest for the truth. Seeking explanations to his troubled past through a long-lost friend in Samarqand, Ali's travel brings him into encounters with the Uzbekistan of today, yesterday, and once upon a time. His tale embraces many tales-those of his confounding taxi driver, of Islamic activists, and of the criminal underworld as well as stories of struggles against authoritarianism in Egypt. Woven among these are legendary tales of gypsies, khans, and madmen, of magic, treasure, and love. Drawing parallels between Uzbekistan and Egypt, the novel shows diverse historical and modern connections between Central Asia and the Arab world. Painting a vivid portrayal of idealistic visionaries and brutal regimes, the novel explores power struggles between opposition currents and governments since the Uzbeki Soviet era and Egypt's Nasser period. Moon over Samarqand received the 2006 Sawiris Foundation Award for Literature.
Mohamed MANSI QANDIL was born in 1949 in the Egyptian Delta city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Mansoura University. He has published both novels and short story collections, as well as several children's books. In addition to receiving the Sawiris Foundation Award in 2006, one of his short story collections was awarded the State Incentive Award in 1988. Mohamed Mansi Qandil lives in Kuwait with his wife and son, where he works as a literary critic and travel writer for the monthly magazine al-'Arabi. It was an al-'Arabi assignment that took him to Uzbekistan, where he met the taxi driver who served as inspiration for the main character in this novel.
JENNIFER PETERSON is an independent researcher, writer, and translator residing in Cairo. She holds an MS in Arabic literature and linguistics from Georgetown University.