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The Batrakanis are a family caught between two worlds, ‘birds of passage' who have left Syria and come to rest in the cosmopolitan Egypt of the first half of the twentieth century. Their patriarch is Georges Bey Batrakini, a man driven by the pursuit of wealth. His method of achieving riches is manufacturing the tarboosh which, like the Batrakanis, is the product of another culture but has been adopted by the Egyptians. For four generations, the Batrakanis prosper against the backdrop of English occupation and two world wars. However, in 1952, Cairo's European quarter is set alight and King Farouq is overthrown, leaving the country to be ruled by Egyptians for the first time since the pharaohs. The tarboosh goes out of fashion and the Baraktranis must move on to start another exile elsewhere. In Birds Of Passage, Solé briiliantly evokes the atmosphere of Cairo as Egypt inches towards independence.

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  • Seller location: Christchurch City, Canterbury, NZ

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