The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

Enid Shomer (Author)


This "mesmerizing new work of historical fiction" (The Miami Herald) imagines the deep friendship of Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert as they travel up the Nile.

Before she became the nineteenth century's greatest heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled down the Nile at the same time in 1850. But where history would have these two figures float right by each other, the award-winning writer Enid Shomer brings them together to ignite a passionate friendship that alters both their destinies.

Shomer, whose writing The New York Times has praised as "beautifully cadenced, and surprising in its imaginative reach," brings to life the opu-lent tapestry of mid-nineteenth-century Egypt as the unlikely soul mates come together to share their darkest torments and most fervent hopes.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
August 20, 2013
5.59 X 1.17 X 8.44 inches | 0.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Enid Shomer is the author of eight books of poetry and prose, including The Twelve Rooms of the Nile (Simon & Schuster), which National Public Radio named one of the best novels of the year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Atlantic, Paris Review, etc. She won the Iowa Fiction Prize for her story collection Imaginary Men, and the Florida Gold Medal in Fiction for Tourist Season: Stories. She has twice received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Longtime editor of the University of Arkansas Press Poetry Series, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council.


"Shomer's exquisite debut is an intellectual adventure. . . . The superb characterizations, poignant observation on the Egyptian religion, and depictions of the land's ethereal beauty--all perfectly interwoven--are rendered in memorable language that excites and enriches the mind."--Sarah Johnson "Booklist (starred review) "
"The meeting in 1850 of Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert in Egypt, an unlikely but immensely satisfying confluence, is deftly imagined in this brilliant book. The louche Flaubert and the sober Miss Nightingale are fitting representations of ourselves as life's travelers--alternately lazy and alert, sensuous and restrained, complacent and curious."--Susanna Moore "author of The Big Girls "
"I could not imagine it: Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale as friends, almost as lovers! Step by step, detail by detail, Shomer constructs the story of how a man and a woman with nothing in common but genius, one French, one English, one steeped in cynicism, one drowning in despair, could meet on the Nile in 1850, talk, write, hold hands, and see into each other's souls. As brilliantly sensual as it is finely psychological, this novel is a tour de force of twenty-first century storytelling."--Gillian Gill "author of Nightingales "
"With the voice of a poet and a keen eye for time, place, and character, Enid Shomer tells of the imagined intersection of two famous lives - and the communion of two unlikely souls - on the crossroads of the Nile. Beautifully written, touchingly rendered."--Alan Brennert "author of Moloka'i "