Into Suez

Into Suez - Stevie Davies Into Suez by Stevie DaviesGenre: FictionPages: 448Publication date: March 8th 2010The year is 1949: Great Britain, victorious but bankrupt after WWII, attempts to reassert itself as an Imperial power by its military presence in the Suez Canal zone. Egypt's struggle against its British occupiers has some implicit truths to tell about the recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. When Israel declares its statehood and drives out the Arab population, Joe, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter Nia leave Wales for Egypt.Joe is the everyday working man, in whom racism and misogyny become a sickness. Alisa, an independent, free thinking woman, yearns to explore her new homeland of Egypt. It's here that she meets the exotic Mona, who opens Ailsa's eyes to what lies beyond the horizon. In a world of terrorism and political struggle, her friendship with Mona and an act of murder pitch the happily married couple into tragedy.Nia, looking back in late middle age, follows in her parents' wake to sail the Suez Canal. On this journey Nia will face difficult life lessons about love and betrayal.I read that the author was longlisted for the Booker prize and I understand why. She is a great writer, and such a great story teller.This book is about Ailsa who leaves England with her young daughter Nia to go to Egypt to be with her husband. The troubles start at once at the ship where she meets Mona, an officers wife. They are not supposed to friends because of their husbands ranks. But there is deep friendship and love between them, and even though Ailsa tries to stay away in Egypt in the end she cannot. Egypt that is in turmoil, the Egyptians wants the invaders out, and terrorism and murder is part of the day.In the middle of this story there is another story, Nia later in life who wants to knwo what really happened in Egypt and she goes back to find out more about her mother and father.First of all it is so hard to understand why everyone frowned upon Ailsa being friends with Mona, Joe was really horrified. It all had to do with rank, and I find it rather silly but that was life back then. Mona and her husband would have loved to be friends with them. But Joe was a regular soldier and he knew his place. He also didn't liek intellectuals, he had grown up a poor miner in Wales and had little education. He didn't take too kindly to Ailsa reading either.But I did understand Joe, and he was a great guy, at first. Then came jealousy and doubt and the trouble that was Egypt. I liked Ailsa too, she was strong and she so wanted to knwo more about Egypt all while Joe looked down upon everything there. Racism was clear as day in this book, but it isn't as easy as it looks. Yes the white looked down upon the Egyptians and called them names, but the Egyptians in turn looked down upon the black population and so on.Politics did have an importance here, it was the last days of the British Empire in Egypt, the Suez Crisis, and it also dealt with Israel-Palestine since Mona was a Palestine refugee. Though here I wished they would have looked more at both sides, it was a bit one sided in one way. When they spoke of the refugee camps they never mentioned the unwillingness of the neighboring countries to take them in. But I shall not go in to politics no, that is one hot topic I do not want to touch, and Davies does make a good job and looking at things from every angle at least once.This was a good book that had me turning the page and wondering how it all would play out. Since I knew from the start that Joe would die in Egypt and I had a pretty good idea how since the situation was like it was. But then there was the fact that Ailsa was a certain way after she came back to Wales and I wondered why that was so. Nia remembered her mother one way, a way that I could not understand reading the book from Ailsas POV. But it became clear later on.Then there is the friendship between Ailsa and Mona, am I supposed to see more, or is it my imagination? They like each other so much, they never do anything, but it does feel like there is something more between them. Something that can never be.I liked this book, I liked to see how it was in Egypt, the politics, the life, the friendship between Mona and Ailsa, normal life was an army wife, the love between husband and wife, and Nia's sharp eye. A well-written book about a heavy topic sometimes. And the eternal question, what happened?Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Historical and fiction likeReason for Reading: Dunno, the publisher sent it to me, I think it has to do with Wales...Final thoughts: I liked it.