Identity politics remains at the heart of this unusual novel. Written in three parts, One portrays a “love” affair between an Egyptian American woman who has gone to Cairo to find her Egyptian self and an unemployed, revolution (as in Arab Spring) photographer who alternates between living in a rooftop shack and homelessness. Each vignette starts with a question and alternates between the voice of the woman and the man, expressing their viewpoints on life, love, and their situation. Part Two is the same except without the “headline” question. Part Three is a big surprise–a discussion, written as a play, a critique of the rest of the novel among the author, an instructor, and several “students”.
I loved this book in part because it enabled me to learn a lot about Egyptian cultures, but also because I found it thought provoking and intriguing.