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Si El-Sayed throws open the doors to his home. Amina welcomes him with unconditional servitude; she is the picture of a diligent wife—and he, the tyrannical, seldom-smiling despot. The streetlight creates a cast between them, a power imbalance that colors their curt, one-sided conversation. Amina scuttles off to prepare a midnight meal, and Si El-Sayed watches her leave. He smells of rum and women’s perfume; he has just returned from the cabaret. Nobel prize laureate Naguib Mahfouz brought Si El-Sayed…