Mona Prince’s ‘So You May See’: A different sort of freedom

Not a particularly brave or earth-shattering jacket.

My review of Mona Prince’s So You May See has made its way to the Al Masry Al Youm culture pages:

It is impossible not to admire Mona Prince‘s 2008 novel, “Inni Uhaddithuka li-Tara,” (I Speak to You so that You May See) translated by Raphael Cohen as “So You May See” and published by the AUC Press this spring.

Skeptical readers may find the book’s free-love scenarios improbable. They may be put off by the rocky opening pages and the absence of a clear setting. A few may even be indifferent to the high-voltage charm of Ayn, the novel’s narrator and protagonist. Nonetheless, it would be impossible not to doff one’s cap in admiration of the book’s sheer derring-do.

Mona Prince, who was born in 1970, is an associate professor of English at Suez Canal University. Although she draws upon international trends, Prince’s novel resembles other recent Egyptian fiction in that the self-conscious, sometimes fragmented narrative focuses on the “small” world of human psychology, rather than the nation’s “big issues.” The narrator-protagonist states numerous times, “I attempted, as much as I could, to keep away from any social or political context that might ruin the sense of love.” Keep reading.

Also: A conversation with translator Raphael Cohen about So You May See.