a novel by Leila Marshy
“Leila Marshy beautifully captures what it's like to be at once deeply rooted and displaced, fiercely committed to truth, while enabling the lies that lovers tell. A sweet and bitter coming-of-age story that spans – and transgresses – sexuality, culture, and countries.”
Ann-Marie MacDonald (Fall on Your Knees, The Way the Crow Flies, Adult Onset)
"Leila Marshy illuminates love and identity in the streets of Cairo in a way that makes you feel you’ve watched her scenes through a high-definition kaleidoscope.”
Kathleen Winter (Annabel, Lost in September)
“This accomplished first novel gives us the vibrant story of Nadia’s passionate love affair with an Egyptian woman, which compels Nadia to stay in the city long enough to rediscover her father and herself.
The novel delicately hints at the societal tensions that will lead to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution while depicting a rich and surprising Cairo rarely seen.”
Leilah Nadir (The Orange Trees of Baghdad)
2019 MIRAMICHI VERY BEST BOOK AWARD
First Fiction & Fiction: Shortlisted
What They're Saying
First Fiction Friday: "For a book propelled by the forces of love what is particularly powerful is Marshy's unsentimental and unflinching gaze... Need more recommendations? No, just pick it up. You'll be glad you've chosen to spend some of this warming season in Leila Marshy's vivid Cairo."
Reading Radar: "Montrealer and founder of Friends of Hutchison Street Leila Marshy has made it into the good books of literary veterans like Ann-Marie MacDonald who describes Marshy's '90s-set-LGBTQ novel The Philistine as a "coming-of-age story that spans – and transgresses – sexuality, culture and countries" and Kathleen Winter who said, Marshy "makes you feel you've watched her scenes through a high-definition kaleidoscope." We've got our specs on for this one."
Just the Thing: "Whether armchair travelling or jet-setting, Leila Marshy's The Philistine will be just the ticket your adventurer is after. In this page-turning novel, protagonist Nadia sets off to Cairo to find her father and instead discovers her sexuality, shedding everything she thought she knew about herself in a debut novel that Ann-Marie MacDonald says "spans—and transgresses—sexuality, culture and countries." How's that for travelling to find yourself?"
"This is a terrific book... I am super excited about it."
14 books by Canadian LBGTQ writers and illustrators to celebrate Pride Month.
"The Philistine by Leila Marshy was one of those review books that I received with anticipation, but just never got around to reading. Now I have to say, curse you past Casey, because I am sad it sat on my shelf for over a year before I finally read it! I loved The Philistine. I wish I had advocated for how awesome it is when it was first published in 2018. But at least I am reviewing it now!"
"Everything had to go wrong -- and it did -- for something to go right."
"Leila Marshy’s The Philistine also explores gay identity within a Muslim community, here in late-1980s Cairo. The daughter of a Palestinian man living in exile since he was a young boy, 25-year-old Nadia Eid travels to Egypt in search of her father, only to find realities she could remain blind to at home in Montreal. In Cairo she also meets Manal, a young Egyptian artist trying to break into the Western art market. Set against the backdrop of Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the First Intifada, Marshy’s is a bittersweet story of barriers and restrictions, which ones can only bend for now, and which ones can break."
"A sensitive, artistically wrought story on several levels. A five-star debut and The Philistine goes on the 2019 longlist for a “The Very Best!” Book Award in both the Fiction and First Book categories."
"Summer reads that are every bit as important as sunscreen. The Philistine is an affecting story about a Montreal woman's reckoning with her Palestinian roots."
"The beauty of The Philistine is the novel’s ability to recognize and celebrate journeying across places and into one’s self, even when the destination is perpetually shifting."
"The Philistine demonstrates Marshy's potential as a superior writer of fiction and author to watch in the coming years."
"Which book (from Quebec) did you put out that you’re proudest of this year?
I’m very proud to have published Leila Marshy’s The Philistine."