The Alexandria You Are Losing

"The Alexandria You are Losing" is a collection of short stories focusing on connections between the Arab world and the United States. The stories are both contemporary and set in the 1970s, following immigrants, travelers and lovers on their personal journeys, from the sunbaked alleys and villas of Tripoli and Alexandria, to the vastness of Oklahoma and the frigid grip of a Wisconsin winter.  In these tales of cultural dislocation and geographic displacement, El-Sayed's characters bend and collide, endure and survive.

Acclaim for "The Alexandria You Are Losing"

Abraham Verghese

"The Alexandria You Are Losing" showcases a truly original voice and a brilliant imagination. Yasser El-Sayed captures with verve, surprise and insight what it is to be alive and human. Each story is a jewel, mounted by itself in a unique setting to capture its own light. But the common theme is an author who helps us connect to what is universal, to the mystery of being human and our ways of experiencing it. Ration your reading because this delicious repast ends too soon."

—Abraham Verghese
New York Times bestselling author of "Cutting for Stone"

Julia Nunnally Duncan

"With unflinching and poignant perception, El-Sayed captures the experience of living in a foreign place. Some who are displaced find adjustment difficult, family dynamics complicated and sometimes turbulent, are explored with subtlety and candor. The reader will not be left unsatisfied by the powerful stories in this collection. In a style reminiscent of Anton Chekhov, this is the right book at the right time."

—Julia Nunnally Duncan
author of "A Place That Was Home" and "A Part of Me"

Allen Mendenhall

"The Alexandria You Are Losing" is a searing addition to the growing body of literature in English focusing on place, displacement, and the complicated relationships between characters with dual Eastern and Western connections and identities. A renowned doctor, El-Sayed tells stories with surgical precision, giving voice to feelings of loss and longing."

—Allen Mendenhall
editor of Southern Literary Review

Lara Bernhardt

"Beautifully poetic prose fill the pages of "The Alexandria You Are Losing" as lost souls search for home, for a place to belong.  El-Sayed's characters drift without the anchor of home to moor them, yet their warmth and humanity as they stumble for footing draw you to them."

—Lara Bernhardt
author of "Shadow of the Taj"

Bill Roorbach

"The Alexandria You Are Losing" is a beautiful collection of moving stories, a report from exotic territory full of vibrant detail and the atmosphere of memory, sometimes fraught, often moving, always fascinating.  I read these stories with excitement and  pleasure, not least because El-Sayed knows how to find the heart even when there's trouble just over the horizon.”

—Bill Roorbach
author of "Life Among the Giants", "The Remedy for Love" and "The Girl of the Lake"

Amber Clark

“El-Sayed's writing sings with keen insight into the inner worlds of his characters, many of them travelers out of place who move at odds with their surroundings. Subtly chosen details offer readers a clear sense of these locations, whether beside the Mediterranean or alongside a Missouri bus stop, whether traversing an excessively manicured Boston lawn or Libyan streets flushed with demonstrators. Readers of thoughtful travel writers like Pico Iyer are sure to fall in love.”

—Amber Clark
Kepler's Literary Foundation's Event Manager


"The Alexandria You are Losing"
Southern Literary Review Read of the Month

Yasser El-Sayed, the author of this unique collection of stories, is well traveled, with a stack of hometowns in his carry-on, which he pulls out with nuance, humor and psychological precision, as he explores the landscapes and emotional terrain of immigrants and emigrants, travelers and settlers.
      We humans are a seeking species in El-Sayed’s stories, which focus on departures planned, postponed and fulfilled, his characters caught up in a restless traffic between old home, new home, back to old home again.

Families and lovers journey from country to country, state to state, making the compromises and discoveries that relocation and reinvention provoke.  Seeking not just economic security, but love and (often forbidden) sexual intimacy, characters from opposite cultures take tentative steps toward each other, often with unexpected consequences.



Yasser El Sayed's first novel Ghibli" is set among expatriate American oil workers in Libya in the 1970s.  When a woman from a small frozen town in northern Wisconsin is transplanted to the scalding terrain of North Africa, she falls into a fraught relationship with a Libyan police officer who is haunted by the darkness of a life spent in the service of a repressive regime.  Titled after a fierce desert wind that sweeps out of the Sahara, "Ghibli" explores how culture shock and the mysteries of love can lead to surprising new definitions of "home."

An avid reader and long-time supporter of diverse literary voices,
Yasser El-Sayed contributes essays and book reviews to the Southern Literary Review:





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