Set in the Upper Egyptian village of Karnak against the backdrop of the British campaigns in Sudan, the Second World War, and the war in Palestine, "The Collar and the Bracelet" tells the saga of the Bishari family - a family ripped apart by the violence of history, the dark conduits of human desire, and the rigid social conventions of village life. The novella traces the grim intrigues of Hazina al-Bishari and the destinies of her son, the notorious bandit Mustafa; her daughter Fahima, tortured by a secret passion; and the tragic doom of her beautiful granddaughter Nabawiya.
YAHYA TAHER ABDULLAH was born in the village of Karnak in 1938 and moved to Cairo in 1964, where he became known for his virtuoso oral performances of his stories. He published in the leading reviews of the day and became a prominent figure in the circle of writers known as the Generation of the Sixties. He died in a car accident in the Western Desert in 1981 at the age of 43. He is the author of four novellas (of which The Collar and the Bracelet was made into a major motion picture, directed by Khairy Bishara) and five collections of short stories. A collection of his stories, The Mountain of Green Tea, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies, was published by the AUC Press in 1999. SAMAH SELIM is a translator and scholar of modern Arabic literature living in France. She is associate researcher at IREMAM in Aix-en-Provence. Her most recent translation is Memories of a Meltdown: An Egyptian between Moscow and Chernobyl by Mohamed Makhzangi (AUC Press, 2006).