Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: At the Crossroad by Olfet Agrama




Valentine's Day and Mother's Day Gift Guides

Riveting Breakout Fiction “At the Crossroad”
Dives Into Passion, Forbidden Love, Faith and Power Between Four Characters
in Smoldering Desert During 1950s Middle East  

Author Olfet Agrama Available for Interviews

“… A convincing story; credible characters … there’s nothing like this out there …”
--Barbara Nimri Aziz, Radio Tahrir on WBAI Radio, NYC &
Former Director of RAWI (Radius of Arab American Writers) 

The decisions we make at every crossroad in our lives shape our destiny. In her first novel At the Crossroad, Olfet Agrama pens a romance/adventure book filled with passion, forbidden love, faith and power - - the perfect book to give that special woman for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

Released on October 21, 2014, At the Crossroad is a fiction book that takes place in the steamy, smoldering Middle East during the 1950s and 1960s and follows four main characters: a dashing medical student filled with so much promise, his beautiful but naïve girlfriend who doesn’t realize her strengths, a carefree girlfriend, whose troubled life brings happiness but also tragedy and a handsome military officer, who’s strong but unwilling to bend his religious beliefs.

The story is set in Egypt after World War II. Torn between the East and West, occupied by the British and ruled by a corrupt King, it was inevitable that by 1952 the country would be convulsed by a military revolution.  At the Crossroad follows four young people born during the occupation and readers learn how their lives and loves intertwine with the political events of their country.  Their search for love spans a range of emotions that includes sexual tension, loneliness, elation, confusion fulfillment, humiliation and hope.

  • Nadia lives a Western lifestyle, but suffers the intellectual and physical repressions imposed upon her by a conservative Muslim father.
  • Melanie, whose mother is British, enjoys the semblance of a free and emancipated life in a world that never completely accepts her.
  • Sammy was brought up in England, but is still a product of the Middle East. He succeeds in escaping from the political restrictions of the military regime, but can’t escape his macho culture
  • Hassan is the victim of his ideals. His belief in the revolution is shattered when he perceives the corruption of the new government and when the Egyptian Army is defeated in the Suez Canal War.
 Internationally recognized for her paintings and sculptures showcased at prestigious galleries in Paris, Madrid, Nagasaki, Japan and Los Angeles, Olfet Agrama decided to take a stab at writing and took nearly 10 years to complete At the Crossroad.  A native of Cairo, Egypt Agrama based most of the characters in At the Crossroad on real people she knew growing up in the Middle East. The book is dedicated to brave Egyptian women who fought for women’s rights and freedom at the turn of the century. 

Agrama noted women were raised to be subservient, second class citizens, governed by a strict religious ethic and a male dominated society. The situation is much worse today with the rise of the Islamic movement. Before the revolution there was a functioning parliament and several political parties competing for power. Egypt was just getting rid of the British occupation. The majority of the population was Sunni Muslim but the society was comprised of many different ethnic groups and religious entities.  Some families adhered to the old traditional ways and others imitated the West. The young were confused and suffered whether they rebelled against their parents or submitted to tradition.  

Review:
This is a very well written book. I really enjoyed reading it. I could definitely relate to some of the issues she faced in life.  It also gave me a little light into how things were in the Middle East in the 1950's and 1960's. Its an awesome book. If you are looking for a good read, I highly suggest it. 

At the Crossroad is available in hardback, paperback and e-book through publisher Xlibris. The book is distributed through Ingram and available at Amazon.com, BN.com (Barnes & Noble) and Xlibris.com.

About the Author
Olfet Agrama was born in Cairo, Egypt and earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Ein Shams in Cairo. She came to the U.S. when she was 24 years old and received a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of California. She was CEO of Intersound, a dubbing and post production studio in Los Angeles and presently sits on the board of directors at Harmony Gold, a television production and distribution company. Olfet Agrama has been married 60 years and has two children and six grandchildren. She is a renowned sculptor and painter with numerous exhibits showcased in Paris, Madrid, Nagasaki, Japan and Los Angeles, California, among others. Agrama travels extensively and currently divides her time between Los Angeles and Paris. At the Crossroad is the first novel by Agrama and she is working on her second book.


Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes only. No payment was received for this review. My reviews are based on my personal opinions and experience using the item. All opinions are my own and 100%  honest. 

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