All the Children of Isis
The setting is Cairo in the late forties and early fifties. Life in Farouk’s Egypt is pleasant and carefree. In the privileged circles where mostly French or English are spoken, suitors throw huge dinner parties by the pyramids to court their ladies, and the royal families waltz in their palaces by the Nile. At the Guezira Sporting Club, Sybilla, wife of a British diplomat, falls prey to a handsome Egyptian golden boy. Soussou and Nadia, the two daughters of a supercilious judge, give up reading their Evelyn Waugh and Aldous Huxley novels for marriage: Soussou to a maharajah and Nadia to an impoverished revolutionary. Siegfried Alp, a trendy decorator, dallies with both an alcoholic British diplomat and an aging movie actress. This is the world of Isis, the goddess of love, a world of haunting fragrances and flowers in perpetual bloom, of sweltering heat, nakedness and luxury.
Suddenly the dream is shattered. Cairo is burning and foreigners are massacred by wild fanatical mobs. When Farouk abdicates and a junta takes over, the world discovers another Egypt, a leftist Islamic country with hard-labor camps run by strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser. The gallant company of yesterday must now flee, carrying with them the heaviest baggage of all: nostalgia and the memory of paradise lost. Those who escape to London, Paris and New York confront for the first time the harsh realities of life in exile.
Gerald Messadié : Internationally-acclaimed Gerald Messadié is the author of numerous novels, scientific works and historical studies, including A History of Evil (Kodansha, 1997), Great Scientific Discoveries (Kingfisher, Chambers, 1992), and L'Histoire générale de l'antisémitisme (JC Lattès, 1999). 25, rue Soliman Pacha was largely inspired by the author’s experience growing up in Egypt.