“Leila Rafei’s Spring is the all too timely tale of a world come rapidly and irreversibly undone. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Arab Spring, Rafei’s elegant and unsparing debut novel of family and revolution is as essential as it is breathtaking.” —Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of Sonora
Three stories. One revolution. Eighteen days in Egypt.
Sami is no revolutionary. When the Arab Spring breaks out in 2011, he’s busy finishing school in Cairo and hiding his relationship with an American woman from his conservative mother, Suad. It’s a task that’s becoming impossible as events take a catastrophic turn.
But Suad won’t be fooled—her son has been distant and she knows it’s not about politics. Far away in the Nile Delta, she spends her days tending obsessively to her lemon grove, which is quickly becoming her last vestige of control. The only child who remains by her side is her daughter, but as she, too, gets involved with the protests, Suad realizes it won’t last for long.
There’s one person who knows exactly what’s going on in the family, and she wishes she didn’t. The maid, Jamila, already has too much to worry about as a refugee who’s lobbying for resettlement, expecting a baby, and looking for her missing husband. All she wants is stability, and that her dreams won’t be thwarted by the unrest sweeping a city she doesn’t belong to—a city that doesn’t even want her there.
As the country revolts against the regime it has always known, Jamila, Sami, and Suad find themselves caught in the whirlwind as they examine their own life choices and, in some cases, deal with the inevitable heartbreak that follows when revolution is not always what it seems.