[Fiction, 2012 Pen/O. Henry Winner] A son recalls an exiled life with his father, mother, and a maid:

At the Magda Marina, he spent his time sunbathing and reading fat books: one on the Suez Crisis, one a biography of our late king, with his portrait on the cover. Whenever Father acquired a new book on our country—the country my parents had fled, the country I had never seen, yet continued to think of as my own—he would immediately finger the index pages.

‘Baba, who are you looking for?’ I once asked.

He shook his head and said, ‘No one.’

But later I, too, searched the indexes. It felt like pure imitation. It was not until I encountered my father’s name—Kamal Pasha el-Alfi—that I realized what I was looking for.

“Naima.” — Hisham Matar, The New Yorker (2011)

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