The Year of Numbers
ISBN 0-9808879-3-3 / 978-0-9808879-3-8
Working with an NGO gathering personal war-horror stories from Cairo’s besieged and undocumented refugee communities, Genevieve, a young Canadian, discovers uncertainties too dangerous to share, especially between lovers.
“The first time I read The Year of Numbers, I knew my biggest challenge would be to stay out of the author’s way,” says editor Kerry J. Schooley. “Normally it’s the editor’s job to impart clarity and precision to a manuscript, but I quickly recognized Paulina’s skill in bringing readers to not just understand, but to feel doubt and insecurity. I haven’t read another author who so skilfully creates this atmosphere of dreaded ambiguity except, perhaps, John le Carré.”
It’s clear the author loves Cairo. Evocative passages describe its people, fashions, architecture, foods and colours. It is a city of possibilities as well as uncertainties. Readers will feel the dust between sandaled toes in the dry heat of day and shiver at the cold tiles beneath naked feet crossing the floor at night. The Year of Numbers is a feast for the senses and creates a moving, exotic experience for readers.
Paulina Wyrzykowski has written a remarkable and poignant novel, a story of love and memory set among Cairo’s African asylum seekers, deftly blending her narrative with the crosscurrents and horror of modern refugee life. It is hard to put down.
~ Caroline Moorehead, Biographer and author of Human Cargo
Wyrzykowski’s unexpected page-turner ventures into the painful silences that arise when two people cross boundaries and become refugees – from their countries, from their upbringing… and from conventional expectations. A must read.
~ Chris Dolan, PhD, Director of Refugee Law Project, Kampala, Uganda