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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
A mesmerizing story with a strong sense of conflict and an international setting in Egypt between 2001 and 2002, On the Brink of the Nile by Mahi Wasfy plunges the reader into an Islamic world where one woman struggles to empower students and parents, standing up for injustices against children and families. Mrs. Magda’s journey is challenged when she discovers that some teachers teach something else from what is in the curriculum and that they deviate from the core Islamic values. Children are not graded fairly. But does she have the tools to redress this? While in her freshman year at the American International University, Maha wants nothing more than to leave Egypt and study abroad, but there is so much to deal with, including her grades, the cultural challenges, and her quest to understand why a book is written about her grandmother.
This is a novel that deals brilliantly with social issues in a predominantly Muslim community and the author does an awesome job in weaving the religious tenets into the narrative. The setting — both physical and religious — is beautifully explored in this book and readers get an understanding of what it felt like to be a student in Cairo in the early years of the 21st century. The story is told in a powerful and clear narrative voice, punctuated by interesting and exciting dialogues that sound natural to the ear. Character development is one of the great successes of this book and readers will undoubtedly be delighted at how the characters evolve through the dialogue. I enjoyed the short chapters, featured in the form of a journey. Mahi Wasfy weaves intrigue into the story with the elements of Maha’s grandmother. On the Brink of the Nile is a huge success, balanced and deftly handled.