Born into a working-class Coptic family in the provincial town of Tanta, in Egypt's lush Nile Delta, Yusuf Tadrus is fascinated from a young age by light and shadow, spending his time drawing, making toys out of discarded objects he finds in the alley, and dreaming of becoming an artist and stepping into a broader world. As he grows into adulthood, he hones his talent, but his ambitions are checked: by the responsibilities of family, marriage, and work; by his own lack of self-confidence, his ambivalence, and at times his recklessness; and by society's expectations and prejudices. Adel Esmat provides an intimate glimpse into Egyptian Christian life and, with sensitivity and honesty, tells of the struggles faced by an artist who seeks to remain true to his calling.
Born in the Gharbiya Governorate of Egypt in 1959, Adel Esmat graduated in philosophy from the Faculty of Arts of Cairo's Ain Shams University in 1984. He lives in Tanta, in the Nile Delta, and works as a library specialist in the Egyptian Ministry of Education. Mandy McClure is the translator of Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide (AUC Press, 2008) and co-translator of The Traditional Crafts of Egypt (AUC Press, 2016). She lives in Cairo.