The protagonist has Egyptian roots going back many generations: on her father’s side, to the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, when seven brothers of the Kastil family (from Castilla) landed on the Gaza coast after many trials and tribulations. Her mother’s side goes back even further, to the only family that Jewish history has ignored: the ones who said “No” to Moses and stayed in Egypt. After migrating to Israel in the 1950s and settling on a kibbutz—from which they were soon expelled for Stalinism—this storied clan moved to Tel Aviv. In this unconventional family saga, Orly Castel-Bloom blends fact with fiction, history with legend, reimagining the lives of her forebears in unforgettable prose.
Orly Castel-Bloom is a leading voice in Hebrew literature today. Her postmodern classic Dolly City has been included in UNESCO’s Collection of Representative Works, and was nominated in 2007 as one of the ten most important books since the creation of the state of Israel. An Egyptian Novel won the Sapir Prize in 2015.