Sherif M. MelekaOct 11, 2023
Hoopoe Edition 2023
Today I talked to Sherif Meleka about his novel Suleiman’s Ring (Hoopoe, 2023)
An enchanted ring brings good fortune to an Egyptian oud player in this compelling novel combining elements of magical realism with political history
Can one man or a mere ring alter the events of one’s life and the history of a country? Combining elements of magical realism with momentous history, Suleiman’s Ring poses these questions and more in a gripping tale of friendship, identity, and the fate of a nation.
Alexandria, Egypt, on the eve of the 1952 Free Officers revolution. Daoud, a struggling musician, is summoned with his best friend Sheikh Hassanein to a meeting with Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser, who seeks their help as he mobilizes for the revolution. Daoud lends Nasser an enchanted silver ring for its powers to bring good luck. The revolution succeeds but Daoud soon grows estranged from Hassanein, who has joined the Muslim Brotherhood, after he suggests that Daoud leave Egypt since as a Jew he is no longer welcome. When Hassanein is arrested, however, destiny draws Daoud into a complex web of sexual intrigue and betrayal that threatens to upend his already precarious existence.
Set against the backdrop of the simmering political tensions of mid-twentieth-century Egypt and the Arab–Israeli wars, Sherif Meleka’s story of fate and fortune transports us to another time and place while peeling back the curtain on events that still haunt the country to this day.
Sherif Meleka was born in 1958 into a Coptic Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt. A trained medical doctor, he emigrated to the United States in 1984. He is the author of numerous novels, poetry and short story collections in Arabic. Suleiman’s Ring is his English-language debut. He currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.