The 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.
Paperback 448 pages 216 x 138 mm
Published 08 March 2010
Stevie Davies’s Into Suez (Parthian, £11.99),
which I’ve just finished, is a bold and gripping novel on an important subject, with a beautifully
handled double time frame, and some of Davies’s best prose yet. She writes so well about
childhood, landscape, class, British social attitudes and Arab realities. The careful research
never intrudes and always rings true. Her characters are rounded in time, grounded in place. A
very satisfying and moving book. Margaret Drabble, The Telegraph 15 July 2010
Davies writes with an intensity which is simultaneously disturbing and exhilarating;
her prose has a marvellous lyricism whether she is describing the heat of Ismailia or the rain
in Wales: Times Literary Supplement
Stevie Davies is one of our most consistent and continually undervalued writers
whose unsentimental, quietly revelatory novels have cropped up on the Booker and Orange shortlists
without ever quite converting to a major prize. Into Suez, her 11th novel, deserves to be the one
that brings wider renown, as it presents the most fully realised fusion of her personal and political
histories to date: Guardian Review
An astonishing piece of writing, and writing a review is going to be like scrawling “77
per cent, well done” at the bottom of a manuscript of A la recherche du temps perdu ... a
rich, subtle, intricate novel, writing with a type of imaginative power that is capable of transporting
the reader into a world that is at once very far away and still very close: Planet: the
A harrowing tale of imperial brutality and forbidden love in the Suez Canal
Zone during the run-up to Britain's ignominious expulsion from Egypt in 1956: Independent
A compelling human and political drama ... Beautifully observed characterisation
and an engrossing plot make Into Suez a highly satisfying read: What’s On in Swansea?
A deeply felt novel that manages to combine in a masterly synthesis, political
history and the way that it moulds and warps the lives of human beings: The Warwick Review
Read the full Warwick Review article here.
At a time when politics feels like so much empty fizz this is a salutary read:
a properly political novel, about human beings implicated in world events ... No small part of
this book's success is its deft way with plotting - and I freely admit that, first time around,
I put down my reviewer's pencil, and read, greedily, for answers.' Mary Ann Constantine,
New Welsh Review
Read the full New Welsh Review article here.