|Pages/Publication Date:||383 / 2013|
Stranded in Alexandria in the winter of 2010, the editor of the Times Literary Supplement is forced to contemplate his own past, even as the aftermath of a bombing and the onset of the Arab Spring alter his plans to complete a long-delayed biography of Cleopatra. Peter Stothard's extraordinary book is part memoir and part travel literature, written against the background of the fracturing police state of Egypt. As he visits Alexandria's ancient sites, Stothard is reminded of places and people from his own life: an Essex childhood among military engineers, Latin and Greek at Oxford, and journalism high and low in London.
"His discursive story of brooding on Cleopatra is fascinating, a book full of surprises, humor, information and reflections; it's a walk through the rich estate that is Peter Stothard's mind."—Literary Review
"Alexandria exerts a powerful attraction. It is as good an evocation of one of the world's most absorbing cities as one could imagine. It is the depth and quality of Stothard's insights into himself that will make me go back to this book again and again."—Mail on Sunday (London)
"If I have any quibble with the book, it is based on wanting to spend more time with Stothard.... Although not ostensibly there to report on the first stirrings of political change in Egypt, his glancing observations tell us more about a paranoid, fractious state than countless more column inches ... and all of that shot through with a supremely humane intelligence."—Scotsman