Catalogue


Into Suez /
by Stevie Davies.
imprint
Cardigan : Parthian, 2010.
description
438 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
1906998000 (hbk.), 9781906998004 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cardigan : Parthian, 2010.
isbn
1906998000 (hbk.)
9781906998004 (hbk.)
catalogue key
7122856
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
Egypt, 1949. With hindsight, a disaster waiting to happen. And even at the time there were many who saw the future. In the main, though, Empire was still the word and the British swaggered and brayed, calling the Egyptians 'wogs' and treating them with fearsome or fearful contempt. To the east, the new Israeli nation is evicting indigenous Arabs in a shocking demonstration of the age-old truth that 'the master race turns on the stranger in its midst'. Along with so many others, young Joe and Ailsa Roberts and their precocious daughter Nia step unawares into the path of the approaching storm. More than half a century later, and a full twenty-five years after her mother's death, Nia receives a package containing letters and journals that introduce her to a young Ailsa she barely remembers and clearly never knew. It is 2003. The British and Americans have been in Afghanistan for two years. Now they are in Iraq. Israel is busy building a wall. Shall we never learn?Davies has an extraordinary ability to evoke the tensions and conflicts that characterise our relationships, both with ourselves and with others, be they individuals or nations. Difference attracts and repels and we are quick to detest in each other the very qualities that first drew us together. Our experience of difference can expand and enhance our lives, or it might threaten and destroy them. We overstep the boundaries at our peril. With its self-proclaimed political perspectives and iconoclastic spirit, Into Suez is perhaps Stevie Davies's finest novel so far subtle, highly nuanced and perfectly paced as it tracks individual lives through the upheavals of history.Suzy Ceulan HughesIt is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiat'd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Into Suez is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, the bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up to the Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe's tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he's a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth.
Into Suez is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, The bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up To The Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe's tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he's a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth. ************************************** Davies writes with an intensity which is simultaneously disturbing an exhilarating; her prose has a marvellous lyricism whether she is describing the heat of Ismalia or the rain in Wales. In well-observed details, Davies conveys the physical closeness of mother and child ... Times Literary Supplement Davies's descriptions of Egypt are beautifully lyrical. Every paragraph is packed with well-thought out prose. If you are brave enough to come out of your comfort zone, then Into Suez will not disappoint. The Bookbag Woven into this complex web of international affairs is a personal tale of hurried marriage and early childhood. The Morning Star
Into Suez is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, the bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up to the Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe's tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he's a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth. ************************************** Davies writes with an intensity which is simultaneously disturbing an exhilarating; her prose has a marvellous lyricism whether she is describing the heat of Ismalia or the rain in Wales. In well-observed details, Davies conveys the physical closeness of mother and child ... Times Literary Supplement Davies's descriptions of Egypt are beautifully lyrical.Every paragraph is packed with well-thought out prose.If you are brave enough to come out of your comfort zone, then Into Suez will not disappoint. The Bookbag Woven into this complex web of international affairs is a personal tale of hurried marriage and early childhood. The Morning Star Alongside Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Martin Amis' The Pregnant Widow, Stevie Davies' ambitious historical novel gained the accolade of one of the most exciting books of the year in the Guardian by author and journalist Margaret Drabble. She writes, 'Stevie Davies, in Into Suez (Parthian Books), tackles historical material in a novel that personalises the forces of imperialism and the British class system as it moves with ease from Egypt immediately after the second world war to the 21st century and back again. Davies has a fine eye for colour and place, and a keen recall of the sensations of childhood, and her characters are full of quirks and eccentricities while telling the story of a whole generation.'
This item was reviewed in:
Guardian UK, April 2010
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Summaries
Author Comments
Stevie Davies was born in Swansea, Wales and spent a nomadic childhood in Egypt, Scotland and Germany. After studying at Manchester University, she went on to lecture there, returning to Swansea in 2001. She is Director of Creative Writing Swansea University. Stevie is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Welsh Academy. She writes for the Guardian and Independent newspapers. Into Suez is her eleventh novel. Her first, Boy Blue (1987) won the Fawcett Society Book Prize in 1989. Closing the Book (1994) was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Fawcett Society Book Prize. Her fifth novel, Four Dreamers and Emily, described as 'poignant, funny and luminous' by Helen Dunmore, was published in 1996. The Web of Belonging (1997) was shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Prize and the Portico prize and dramatized for ITV by Alan Plater. Her next novel, Impassioned Clay (1999) was also shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award. Her eighth novel, The Element of Water (2001), was longlisted both for the Booker and the Orange Prizes and won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award for 2002; Stevie adapted it as a radio play for BBC Radio 4. Her ninth novel, Kith and Kin was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the film rights have been bought. The Eyrie was published in 2007, to great acclaim. Stevie has also written thirteen books of literary criticism and history including Unbridled Spirits - Women of the English Revolution (1998). A Century of Troubles - England 1600-1700 (2001) accompanied the Channel 4 series of documentary films about the century.
Long Description
1949: Egypt's struggle against its British occupiers moves towards crisis; Israel declares its statehood, driving out the Arabs; Joe Roberts, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter, Nia, leave Wales for Egypt. INTO SUEZ is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, the bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up to the Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe's tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he's a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth.
Main Description
1949: Egypt's struggle against its British occupiers moves towards crisis; Israel declares its statehood, driving out the Arabs; Joe Roberts, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter, Nia, leave Wales for Egypt. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy.
Main Description
1949: yng nghanol cyfnod o gythrwfl mawr, mae Joe Roberts, rhingyll gyda'r Llu Awyr Brenhinol, ei wraig Ailsa a'r ferch, Nia, yn symud o Gymru i'r Aifft. Ond mae eu perthynas fel teulu yn arwain at drasiedi wedi i ffrind agosaf Joe gael ei lofruddio gan derfysgwyr.
Main Description
1949: yng nghanol cyfnod o gythrwfl mawr, mae Joe Roberts, rhingyll gyda'r Llu Awyr Brenhinol, ei wraig Alisa a'r ferch, Nia, yn symud o Gymru i'r Aifft. Ond mae eu perthynas fel teulu yn arwain at drasiedi wedi i ffrind agosaf Joe ei lofruddio gan derfysgwyr.
Main Description
Making connections between the Suez Canal War in 1949 and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this novel about a British couple's disastrous marriage is told by their daughter, who has discovered a diary written by her mother at the end of World War II. Ailsa Roberts, the writer of the diary, shows herself to be a vivid and intelligent young Englishwoman who is sailing with her little daughter on the Empire Gloryto join her husband, a Welsh RAF sergeant stationed in Egypt, where Britain still occupies the Suez Canal Zone. On the voyage, however, Ailsa falls for Mona, an officer's exotic wife. When the women finally disembark in Suez, they face a tumultuous world of casual British racism. Joe Roberts, Ailsa's young working-class husband, believes he is acting honorably when he tries to end his wife's friendship with Mona, but instead sets off a series of devastating consequences.

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