In Their Father's Country by Anne-Marie Drosso

In Their Father's Country

Anne-Marie Drosso

A colourful insight into life in cosmopolitan 20th century Cairo. The bittersweet relationship of two sisters - intelligent, complex women - is effectively narrated and you really appreciate their struggle to cling to their homes and livelihoods. The use of letters and flashbacks that keeps the reader focussed on the family story rather than be distracted by the wider social and political climate.


Nuni is the one who taught me how to pull out a daisy’s petals, one by one, saying, ‘He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me ….’ The first time we did this together, the flower said, ‘He loves you’ and I asked excitedly, ‘But who is he, Nuni?’ To which she replied, ‘All the men who will count in your life’. I then asked, with false innocence, ‘All the men? So there will be more than one?’ Her answer was categorical: ‘There will be only one you will truly love. As for all the others, you may believe for a little while you love them, but only one will remain locked in your heart forever.’

  • Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
  • Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany
  • Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Books with similar mood

The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri

The Sky is Changing

Zoe Jenny

Treading Water

Claire Collison

Cuban Heels

Emily Barr

Some Kind of Hero

Donna Hay

Taking it to Heart

Marie Desplechin


Livi Michael

The Orange Blossom Special

Betsy Carter

Say Say Say

Lila Savage

The Good Psychologist

Noam Shpancer

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

Ruiyan Xu

Leaning, Leaning Over Water

Frances Itani

The Amateur Marriage

Anne Tyler

A Crying Shame

Renate Dorrestein

In Defence of Adultery

Julia Copus

Good Harbor

Anita Diamant

Changes and Dreams

Glenda Beagan

Accidents in the Home

Tessa Hadley

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips


Ben Dolnick


Pawel Huelle

Canvey Island

James Runcie

Broken Biscuits

Liz Kettle

Crow Lake

Mary Lawson

Eva Moves the Furniture

Margot Livesey

A Gathering Light

Jennifer Donnelly


Phil Whitaker

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

The Unknown Errors of our Lives

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


Nigel Pickard

The Forms of Water

Andrea Barrett

Ishq and Mushq

Priya Basil

Ghachar Ghochar

Vivek Shanbhag

Breathing on Glass

Jennifer Cryer

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Rachel Joyce

The Silver Linings Playbook

Matthew Quick


Deborah Robertson

The Spectacle Salesman's Family

Viola Roggenkamp

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue

Wide Blue Yonder

Jean Thompson

The Pocket Guide to Being an Indian Girl

B K Mahal

We are Family

Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees

Dinner for Two

Mike Gayle

Tears of the Giraffe

Alexander McCall Smith

The Drink and Dream Tea House

Justin Hall

Conditions of Faith

Alex Miller

Strange Boy

Paul Magrs

Reshape Whilst Damp: Prize-winning Stories by Women

Carole Buchan