A 12-year-old boy returns from his school in Cairo to find his village torn by feud and fear. A corrupt official has ordered the peasants to irrigate their fields in five days, instead of the customary ten ≠ a demand which threatens to disrupt the whole life of the village.
A schoolmaster, Sheikh Hassouna, urges the villagers to rebel. But it takes many attempts, some disastrous, others comical and touching, before they join forces and stand against their oppressors.
Set in the 1930s, Sharqawi's novel was first published as al-Ard [The Earth] in 1954 ≠ two years after the Egyptian revolution ≠ and appeared in Desmond Stewart's excellent translation in 1962. It has also been translated into French, Russian and other languages, and was turned into a popular film by the well-known Egyptian director Youssef Chahine.
Egyptian Earth is an epic drama of great power, and an unchallenged masterpiece of modern Arabic literature.
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Abdul Aati Abdul Hadi Abu Suweilim Abu Suweilim's house Alwani Arabs arrived asked bank beat beaten Beduin began Bey's brother buffalo Cairo canal cheeks Chief Guard coffee cotton daughter Diab Diab's donkey door earth Egypt Egyptian eyes face father felt fields front gallabya girl Government greeted Hadi's hammad hand head heard irrigation Kadra Kassab knew land laughed Long Live looked Magistrate Mahmoud Bey maize marry melon morning mosque mother Muhammad Effendi never night Omda Omda's Pasha People's Party Petition police prayer rage Ramadhan replied river road Sergeant Abdullah Shaaban Sheikh Hassouna Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Shinawi Sheikh Yusif Sheikh-al-Balad shouted Sidky silent sitting smiled someone stick stood suddenly sycamore Taha Hussein tarboosh thing thought told took town tried turned uncle village voice waiting walked wanted Waseefa water-wheel What's wheel whispered woman women words Ya-Seen