10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A poetic and evocative account of the life of a 5th century Coptic Monk
Azazeel is an evocative account of the life of a Coptic monk in the 5th century. Set in the middle east, the story tells of the trials, doubts and uncertainties that beset the monk, Hepa, from being a young man into middle age. The book covers the religious upheavals of the time, but focuses most closely on Hepa as he both resists and fails to resist the temptations of...
Published on 6 Jun 2012 by Leila
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I gave up after 15% :(
I very rarely abandon a book but I was really getting nothing out of this. As it says in the Product Description above, Youssef Ziedan is an Egyptian scholar who specializes in Arabic and Islamic studies. This does not surprise me at all, the book read very much like a study of the ideologies behind the early Christian Church, spoken through the mouth of the main...
Published 21 months ago by DubaiReader
Most Helpful First | Newest First
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A poetic and evocative account of the life of a 5th century Coptic Monk,
Azazeel is an evocative account of the life of a Coptic monk in the 5th century. Set in the middle east, the story tells of the trials, doubts and uncertainties that beset the monk, Hepa, from being a young man into middle age. The book covers the religious upheavals of the time, but focuses most closely on Hepa as he both resists and fails to resist the temptations of the flesh, religious doubts and confusions and pure survival in very turbulent times.
A poetic and beautifully written book and an absolute must for anyone interested in the tumultuous politics of early Christianity in this part of the world and how they impacted upon one man.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sexy, gory, fiery masterpiece,
Azazeel, which won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2009 and has been newly translated into English by Jonathan Wright, is a sexy, gory, fiery, thought-provoking masterpiece.
Its impact stretches far beyond the desert lands of sixth century Egypt and Syria in which it is set, and raises, brilliantly, fundamental questions about the role of religion in societies both ancient and modern: about its corrupting influence, its myriad hypocrisies, its theological inanities.
Above all, it addresses the nature of so-called evil; of constant temptation manifested here in Azazeel, an Arab word for devil, whom Ziedan submits is ever-present and personal to each of us.
If 'Azazeel' is ostensibly a book about the calamitous schisms caused by subtle dogmatic differences in early Christianity, then it is difficult to conceive a better book being fashioned from so unpromising a premise.
The greatest of this novel's many triumphs - and make no mistake, this is a triumphant novel - is that the clarity of Ziedan's complicated central message never blurs; and that it is frameworked within a narrative which, though necessarily gruelling at times, and benefiting from occasional dips into Wikipedia pages on religious orthodoxy, evolves into something quite irresistible: a remarkable feat for a book of this nature.
'Azazeel' takes the form of a series of newly-discovered scrolls, buried by a monk, Hypa in the fifth century AD, at a time of enormous upheaval in the Church. The newly-constituted Bishop Cyril is wreaking havoc in Alexandria - a 'city of whores and gold' - purging the city of its pagans and banishing those, led by his rival Bishop Nestorius, a confidant of Hypa, who espouse a different dogma concerning the nature of Christ. Throughout the chaos, Hypa is embarking on a physical and spiritual journey, plagued by self-doubt at witnessing such violence in the name of religion, and dogged by Azazeel at every turn. Azazeel tells him:
'I don't come and go. It's you who conjures me when you want to, because I come from within you and through you. I spring up when you want me to shape your dream, or spread the carpet of your imagination or stir up for you memories you have buried. I am the bearer of your burdens, your delusions and your misfortunes. I am the one you cannot do without, and nor can anyone else...'
Hypa's distractions are many. He becomes embroiled in a passionate affair with a pagan woman, Octavia, whom he encounters after almost drowning whilst swimming in the sea: to her, his bedraggled figure emerging from the waves represents the physical incarnation of Poseidon, the sea god; a notion Hypa explicitly rejects, and yet cannot help considering in the context of his existing, wavering beliefs, and in the temptation he finds before him.
'she is a pagan woman and believes in the foolish myths about the Greek gods, the gods who trick each other, wage war on mankind, marry often and betray their wives. What sick imagination produced the gods of Greece? And what is stranger still is that there are people who believe in them - such as Octavia, who believes that the sea god Poseidon sent me to her. But the sea has no god and nobody sent me, yet how can I know for sure that she is wrong and I am right? The Old Testament, which we believe in, is also full of deceptions, wars and betrayals, and the Gospel of the Egyptians, which we read although it's banned, contains material which contradicts the four orthodox Gospels. Are the two of them fantasies? Or does it mean that God is secretly present behind all religious beliefs?'
Later, Hypa's faith is further shaken when he bears witness to the murder of the eminent philosopher Hypatia, with whom he has become obsessed, on the streets of Alexandria (nameless until this point, he later baptizes himself in her honour). The passage concerning Hypatia's death is shockingly gruesome, and at the heart of the controversy over this book is Ziedan's implication of the involvement of Cyril in provoking it. Some in Egypt's Coptic Church called for blasphemy laws to be levelled at Ziedan for his ogreish portrayal of Cyril; others questioned his right, as an Islamic scholar, to wade into Christian concerns.
Of his first encounter with Cyril, Hypa writes:
'I looked at the ragged piece of cloth on the statue of Jesus, then at the bishop's embroidered robe. Jesus's clothes were old rags, torn at the chest and most of the limbs, while the bishop's clothes were embellished with gold thread all over, so that his face was hardly visible. Jesus's hands were free of the baubles of our world, while the bishop held what I think was a sceptre made of pure gold, judging from how brightly it shone. On his head Jesus had his crown of thorns, while the bishop had on his head the bright gold crown of a bishop. Jesus seemed resigned as he assented to sacrifice himself on the cross of redemption. Cyril seemed intent on imposing his will on the heavens and the earth.'
There is some kind of irony in the fact that an author presenting an example of the folly of religious hatred, of bodies being burned in the name of the most inane dogmatic differences, should find himself being held up for such censure. Even worse, though, perhaps, are the efforts of some to portray 'Azazeel' as an 'Arab Da Vinci Code', which quite rightly drew short shrift from Ziedan in a recent interview, where he said that those who sought such comparisons were 'ignorant of the essential difference between an adventure novel based on historical fabrication like The Da Vinci Code, and a philosophical novel written with blood, sweat and tears like Azazeel.' I'll put it another way: it's like comparing a sumptuous banquet with a drive-thru burger.
'Azazeel' is a truly magnificent book, quite the best thing I've read in a long time. Its controversy, while, in a sense, part of its charm, ought not be allowed to disfigure its extraordinary success in addressing issues in both the Church and in life which are as pertinent now as they were fifteen hundred years ago. But Ziedan's real genius is this: far from crushing you under the weight of religious doctrine, he has crafted a book light in touch, sharp in plot, and which will leave you craving more.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poking the Coptic nerve,
Azazeel is an historical novel set during the formative years of Christianity. It is narrated by a Coptic monk, Hypa, who states plainly that he is driven to tell his tale by the devil. This is a scholarly text, dealing with the granular distinction in forms of worship during the 4th century. It is also a story about humanity, the perils of believing too strongly that you do the work of God, and the horrors committed in his name.
Azazeel was a much more difficult read than I had anticipated, I found Ziedan's prose dry and often unengaging. There is a great deal of interest in the book, but little excitement. I haven't read very many Middle Eastern authors, so don't have much to compare Zeidan too, but I found Azazeel reminiscent of Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red. In both books the devil is in the detail. Both require a great deal of concentration to read and both are rich and vivid in their portrayal of the culture in which they are set. Whilst I had to force myself to continue reading both books, when I may have preferred to give up, both rewarded my perseverance with powerful and thoughtful conclusions.
There are two main narrative strands to Azazeel. One centres around its narrator, the other on the circles in which Hypa resides. Hypa is the subject of continual temptation. He grew up in very poor rural Egypt, and he has seized the opportunity to escape his upbringing. He is a Coptic Christian with a burning desire to be a physician. Many distractions lie in his path. Pagan religions and beautiful women, books and philosopher queens are just some of the temptations he is confronted with.
The other strand is probably the most interesting, and certainly the most contentious. Azazeel has attracted a certain amount of controversy about its heretical depiction of the genesis of the Christian faith. The book portrays some of the most important tenets of Christianity as being the result of political infighting and one-upmanship. The players in the creation of the divine are fallible and human.
Not being terribly impressed by organised religion, I find nothing surprising or contentious about the author's assertions. What impressed me is the clarity with which Zieden deconstructs the birth of Christianity. There are countless quotes in this book that should be compulsory reading for anybody convinced of Christianity's superiority, or those who use right-wing religious rhetoric to justify their actions. The book is a sermon on the absurdities of intolerance
Despite its scathing analysis of the church Azazeel remains a deeply spiritual book. Hypa tries his best to lead a holy life. He makes mistakes, he is fallible, but distinct from other characters in the book, he understands this. He devotes himself to God, whilst continually questioning exactly what God is. His understanding of God may be ambiguous, but his faith in Him is not. His bewilderment and humility gives the book its strength.
Azazeel is not the easiest book to read. It requires concentration and perseverance, but its rewards are great. Steeped in early history, it offers a fascinating window on the formation of Christianity, whilst its moral and philosophical observations chime with the modern world. The unusual subject matter and the skill with which it's handled, make Azazeel a wholly worthwhile read.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Was your soul immaculate...before you began to write?",
Azazeel is a novel infused with history, theology, the desire for power, intellectualism, and an inner struggle for answers that means every reader can find a thread that will strike chords both sonorous and discordant. It has taken three years for Youssef Ziedah's International Prize winning novel to be translated into English by Jonathan Wright but it is well worth the effort.
The self-narration follows a Coptic monk, Hypa - a self-given name in homage to the great female Alexandrian philosopher Hypatia - as he travels from Upper Egypt, to Alexandria and then Syria over a twenty year period. It is a story of a monk who permits his inner demon to manifest as Azazeel, of a man gifted in the medicinal arts, of a man who explicitly understands love yet struggles to reconcile his passionate affairs with Octavia and Martha. Overarching all these dilemmas it is a story of a man who is "one ambiguity after another, and ambiguity is the opposite of faith just as Satan is the opposite of God.". Yet, for Hypa, his writing serves but one purpose: "confess to these scrolls, concealing no secrets, in the hope that I will find salvation."
The novel commences with our twenty year old monk, a man deemed suitable for monastic life by his teacher at the church in Akhmim, meeting with the ailing Bishop Theodore and his protégé, Nestorius. It is a time in Christianity dominated by the intellectual. A time for laying out doctrine and creating schisms against a backdrop of a waning Roman Empire. A time to use a blossoming Christianity to control secular power, control life itself. A time ripe for Azazeel. Hypa, a man "who doubts his own baptism" is sent to Alexandria by Nestorius, to fulfil personal desire to study theology and medicine, to understand the nature of the church with its painful embers of its dealings with long dead Arius, its riotous anger of Bishop Cyril, its struggle between faith and philosophy. His journey leads him to be washed up on the shores of Alexandria where he falls into a hedonistic dream of desire and lust with the enigmatic, pagan, Octavia. Three days spent after a baptism in the sea lost in the reality of his inner desires - books and love surrounded by a cocoon of fear. He questions his actions in the light of his belief in becoming a monk, yet never once chooses to do anything else other than indulge, finding intelligent reasoning with the whisper of Azazeel.
After three days he is cast out by Octavia as she realises that he is no Theodhoros Poseidonios, but a man imbued with all that is an anathema to her. What follows is Hypa's witness to the baying of the Alexandrian mob, and to the evil that fear and raging fervour can bring. He is ineffectually aghast at seeing Hypatia's being dragged over the sharp stones, her skinning with shells, her murder and conflagration, her "wails of pain [that] had reached to the vaults of Heaven where God and his angels and Satan watched and did nothing." It is an act that sends him running from Alexandria to seek solace in Syria. Alexandria - a city craved by the Romans, home to Cleopatra, resting place of Bishop Georgios, haunt of Cyril. A city for "people of power, not people of faith, people of profane cruelty, not of divine love."
By mid novel the author has Hypa arrive at his final sojourn, at a monastery that "looked like the final stopping place on my incessant travels". Located a few miles north of Aleppo, it is already a broken place with a few monks and an Abbot. Hypa is able to establish himself, to form a library, to question without ever entering the closed box building on the eastern side. A monastery perched high on a hill with three sheer sides, with a higgledy-piggledy jumble of village houses at it base, guarded by ten Roman legionaries. It is perfect for a monk with a troubled soul. Hypa becomes a revered doctor, saving the lives of many, gaining a reputation for quiet reflection, solemn study. A man who Nestorius comes to visit as he rises to become Bishop of Constantinople. Nestorius consults Hypa on a single trip as he feuds with Cyril, leaves Hypa to never be seen again; heard about through reports of excommunication. Closer to Hypa the hypostatis Pharisee monk vies with him on dogma, ideology, the nature of holiness.
Yet all this is swept easily aside as Martha arrives in the village. A vision in beauty with the voice of the morning lark, she inspires a passion in Hypa that takes him back to Hypa. His passion is tempered by age, yet he allows himself to indulge in his desires in a manner that Azazeel craves. For days he is lost again in Life, that which Azazeel needs in order to grow. For Azazeel does not "exist independently of you. I am you, Hypa, and I can only be in you...Incarnation is a myth." Eventually Martha realises she cannot marry a monk and leaves against her will for Aleppo whilst Hypa falls into a fever for twenty days, attempting again to reconcile what he is taught must be true against the clamouring of his mind and heart. By the end, his is recovered, Azazeel falls silent, and his personal exegesis is complete.
One sentence leapt out as I read this novel, a question Azazeel asks of Hypa but also one that provokes uneasiness in any author: "Was your soul immaculate...before you began to write?". The answer to that can only be glimpsed when the pages of any book come to their end and a reader is able to sit in judgement on a soliloquy by form, an imagination by desire, a skill by method. I found that Youssef Ziedah spoke to me on history, on early Christianity, on politics, on logic and madness. I read of fear and hope, of joy and sadness. Watched passion and rage both within a single person and inside an entire city. Out of it all comes the theme that life is what Azazeel craves to indulge in. For Azazeel death has no meaning. For Hypa life is a voyage with several stopping points, where solitude and calm are needed and craved as much as passion and fervour. It is a novel with something for everyone, a novel that lends to the personal knowledge of the author, a novel that is accessible by the intellectual and the dreamer.
I can see why it has won its accolades. It is worth the time and effort to read.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I gave up after 15% :(,
I very rarely abandon a book but I was really getting nothing out of this. As it says in the Product Description above, Youssef Ziedan is an Egyptian scholar who specializes in Arabic and Islamic studies. This does not surprise me at all, the book read very much like a study of the ideologies behind the early Christian Church, spoken through the mouth of the main character, a monk named Hypa. What did surprise me though, was that this book was originally written in Arabic and therefore read by a predominantly Muslim audience.
Hypa, a Coptic monk, has lived through many of the tumultous events of the early Christian Church. It is the fifth century AD and he is writing everything down on a series of scrolls to be buried and discovered at some future time; a monk's version of a time capsule. He is also trying to work out within himself, what he does and does not believe.
This would be a book that would interest scholars of comparative religions and students of theology, but I found it too laborious and rambling. Hypa spends much of his time in prayer and supplication, attempting to resist the urgings of the Devil (Azazeel of the title), and more of his time discussing theological issues with other experts, such as Bishop Nestorius. There are apparently some more exciting scenes further on, with the violent murder of Hypatia and Hypa's lusting after a pagan woman, Octavia, but I'm calling it a day.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but philosophically flawed,
"Azazeel" in Aramaic means "the strong one against God", and in the Hebrew Bible is the "scapegoat" of Lev.16:8f; it is a rather obscure alternative name for the devil. But it is ambiguous: the scapegoat is simply sent into the wilderness according to the Leviticus text, but according to the commentary on the Mishnah (Yoma 39-41) the scapegoat is pushed off a precipice to its death at Mount Azazel (14 km SE of Jerusalem). In Prof. Ziedan's book this ambiguity is maintained: the narrator identifies Azazeel with Satan, but almost always the reader is left with the impression that Azazeel's is a voice of sanity, or of honour; he seems to be the narrator's conscience more than anything else.
This is a powerful and profound book, and one concerning issues of deep importance today: very interesting issues of how we read history, and how different readings affect our view of the current situation; also questions of how to treat fanaticism, and the struggle between truth and one's own false beliefs. We always react in practical situations with a mixture of gut feeling and theory - how we understand the world must always condition our responses, and if we believe lies we may be persuaded to do bad things. And not only the Middle East is today riven with the consequences of false beliefs. Can we correctly identify the devil? It seems to me that Prof. Ziedan is suggesting to us that we are often mistaken about what we think is certain, and equally, we often feel truly that which we think is false. And it is because this suggestion is well directed that "Azazeel" is so powerful.
Professor Ziedan is an Egyptian academic who has written a novel from an historical period predating Islam. The novel is distinctly uncomplimentary to Christianity, and the Coptic Church in particular; subsequent history has shown that these judgements are fair, broadly speaking. Islam has always treated Christianity as a type of polytheism, on the grounds that God is One, not Three. The Qur'an is explicit about this: "how could He [Allah] have a son when He does not have a consort?" (Surah 6:101). The Muslims consider it absurd to say that Mary is "Mother of God" (one of the central philosophical concepts driving the plot of Azazeel) since God clearly has no wife! Christians and Muslims of course agree that God is One, and that the idea of God having a wife is blasphemous; the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary owes most to pagan ideas, as Marina Warner (Alone of All Her Sex, 1976) has shown brilliantly.
The story purports to be an autobiography of an Egyptian-born monk from the fifth century, recently come to light in excavations in the Syrian desert. The monk's assumed name is Hypa, after the pagan mathematician Hypatia whom he witnessed murdered appallingly by a nominally Christian mob in Alexandria, inflamed by their bishop, Cyril. This is a well-documented event which occurred 8th March 415AD. In some ways Ziedan's treatment of Hypatia is similar to that of Charles Kingsley (Hypatia, 1853): both authors make their narrators fall (platonically) in love with her; both emphasise her virtue as well as her intellectual stature, and both books are very philosophical.
The book continues in the framework of the theological debate on the nature of Christ between (the same) Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinople, culminating in the Council of Ephesus (431AD) which condemned, deposed and excommunicated Nestorius. Cyril defended the doctrine of the Virgin Mary as "God-bearer" ("theotokos" in Greek) against Nestorius' doctrine of "Christ-bearer" ("christotokos"). This seems very arcane to us, but the question of whether it is possible to speak coherently of God (or of anything else!) is as deeply important today as it ever was then.
Cyril's doctrine was confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon (451AD), and the "Definition of Chalcedon" describing the human and divine natures of Jesus is now taken by almost all Christian churches as authoritative (and the grounds of the remaining dissent are mostly non-theological, as is also the case in the "filioque" controversy). So we see that the demagogic Cyril understands correctly, where the view of the godly and gentle Nestorius is heretical. Wicked Cyril is right, and good Nestorius is wrong! Do we conclude that truth does not matter? Or do we conclude that virtue does not matter? I think it is fair to read Prof. Ziedan's subtext as being that Christian doctrine is incoherent (or absurd), and the reader should be aware of this subtext.
From a Christian point of view, how should we consider the status of the Church Councils, given that a fair description of them is possible in very modern power-politics terms? However, just because Machiavelli would have recognised the process does not necessarily mean that the conclusion is invalidated. There are two things, and they are different: the argument itself, and the process by which the argument is accepted. An argument may be true, but people still need to be persuaded of the truth of it! The truth and the persuasion are two different things, and both are necessary. Underpinning the truth of Chalcedon was an extended and profound debate by many authors whose spirituality and eloquence continues to impress us. Ziedan naturally does not touch on any of this background - he is writing a novel after all, not a theological or philosophical thesis! But we need to be aware of the background since he is writing about real things, for all that they are clothed in fiction.
This question - of the truth of the doctrine of the nature of Christ - is pointed, considering the Muslim context of Prof. Ziedan himself. From one point of view its portion of truth does not matter in view of the error clearly also present, an error which by the seventh century could have grown such that the perception by Mohammed was that the Christians thought that God had a wife! This confusion persists today: how many Christians can you find willing (and able!) to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to you? From another point of view its truth also does not matter, since it is the common understandings - or lack of them! - that often drive history. In such a context the accepted error is more important than the obscured truth.
On the other hand, the truth is manifestly important, since if the interpreter of history misunderstands the underlying situation then he will almost certainly misrepresent it too. I thought at first that the references to icons of the Virgin Mary (Mary Theotokos) was anachronistic since it was not until the eighth century that icons were authorised (by the second Council of Nicaea, 787AD), but it turns out that Basil the Great (c.330-379AD) justified use of icons (Homily 24; the establishment of the iconostasis in Eastern churches is also attributed to him). Nevertheless, a fundamental flaw in this book is the absence of any awareness that in fact there is good evidence that a high Christian view of women was widespread at that time (see P.M.Beagon, "The Cappadocian Fathers, Women and Ecclesiastical Politics", Vigilae Christianae, 49, May 1995, 165-179), and the memory of this attitude would not have dissipated so fast, especially not in Syria, which is where Hypa is writing from. Misogyny was widespread, but it was not ubiquitous: the premise of the novel is that Hypa was unable to rationally harmonise the (false but common) doctrine of the evil of sex with the manifest virtue of the women he loved. But it can be demonstrated that such a doctrine was not universally accepted at that time! Hypa was well-read, well-travelled and well-connected: he must have known this. In particular, for example, Basil the Great writes in his Homily on Psalm 1:
The virtue of man and woman is one, since also the creation is of equal honour for both, and so the reward for both is the same. Listen to Genesis. 'God', it says, 'created man; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them' [Gen.1:27]. And the nature being one, their activities also are the same; and the work being equal, their reward also is the same
There are two other flaws that significantly devalue this book in my view. Right at the beginning in his prologue, Hypa says: "In life and in all creation ... everything is circular, returning to where it began ... in reality there is no beginning and no ending". No Christian, then or now, could write this, surely? Not only is the beginning and the ending (the Creation and the Judgement) just as securely established in Christian thought as it is in Muslim, for Christians it is underlined everywhere by the STORY: Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End; the Hebrew Scriptures ( the "Old Testament") were pored over and interpreted to see everywhere the established purpose of God to bring rescue to his people and salvation with new Creation to the world. And all stories must necessarily have beginnings and endings!
Throughout the book Hypa is represented as exceptionally well-read, and throughout it there are references to the "apocryphal" ("hidden") "Gospel of Thomas" and the "Gospel of the Egyptians" as treasured (hidden) parts of his collection. Many people believed many things in those turbulent times, but there is no evidence that monks gave these Gnostic works any credence. Eusebius for example, in his "Ecclesiatical History" (c.326AD) mentions "Thomas" without any particular heat as one of the "fictions of heretics": this was an established understanding in the church at that time. Of course, they were found at Nag Hammadi which is where Hypa was from, and Gnostic thought is known to have been strong in Syria, where Hypa ended up. Hypa would certainly have known about these books but I cannot believe that they would have given him any theological trouble. This sounds like unsupportable propaganda from Prof. Ziedan to me, apparently promoting his (incorrect) view that Christian doctrine was then (and remains) fundamentally incoherent.
Despite Hypa being an unbelievable character in some important respects, the story is compelling, and told with brilliance. It is good to have a powerful portrayal of Cyril of Alexandria, and his prey, the peerless and innocent Hypatia. Alexandria was pivotal then, and Egypt is still pivotal in the Middle East today. And the interplay between learning and faith, between demagoguery and virtue, between power and doctrine; these remain as central today as ever.
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars,
After 50 or 60 pages I abandoned this as boring so cannot review whole book
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight,
Youssef Ziedan captures and transports us to an ancient time in this writing. You will feel the heat of the Sun, the cold of the night as you travel with Hypa through his scrolls to discover as it was ever thus we all struggle with our inner demon, as we make our journey. An intriguing read that once started you will have to finish. You will become fond of Hypa though he is not your usual lead character for a book.
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating historical perspective,
Brings a fascinating historical perspective and a compelling narrative style in its account of extreme violence in early Christian Church. Possibly the Devil's work.
3.0 out of 5 stars Azazeel by Youseff Ziedan,
This a very different book. It tells of an age long ago. I believe that it is a book which will stay well in the memory, particularly if you like history. It's one I might suggest to selected friends.
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Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan (Paperback - 1 April 2013)