Dina AbdelSalam graduated from the Faculty of Arts, English Department in 1998 and earned a Master's degree in English Literature in 2005. She spent a semester as a visiting scholar at the University of Oregon in 2006/2007 and obtained a Ph.D. in literary criticism in 2010.
Her first short movie This is not a pipe won a funding award from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in 2010 and was screened in a number of local and international festivals. In 2011, she received the Arab Women Filmmakers award from Baghdad International film festival for this movie.
A Text Abandoned by its Characters, which was published in 2012, happens to be her debut novel.
She currently works as a lecturer at the English Department, Alexandria University, where she teaches literary criticism, classical literature and film studies.
A text abandoned by its Characters
In her attempt to seek reconciliation with her daughter, who has forsaken her, an old ailing lady rummages through her memory and pens her life on her deathbed. The book starts with the memoirs in the hands of the angry daughter.
The seemingly linear manuscript is often times jerky, fragmented and eclectic, and the demarcation lines between the real and the imaginary are unwittingly blurred and trespassed. Truncated or hurried towards the end, the text becomes symptomatic of her failing health and delirium.
The memoir starts with her early childhood and teenage years and spans her metamorphosis into a blooming rebellious young woman at the hands of a dashing lover, her expulsion from her grandmother's house and eventual marriage to a sick middle-aged aristocratic bachelor, whom she bears a daughter, her forays into the dark recesses of her ex-lover's world and final affliction with cancer.
Her quest for self-definition is wrought with pain, suffering and the loss of all the implicated characters, who abandon her text as an act of punishment, an expression of wrath or simply because they finished their roles.
Driven by remorse due to her oscillation between two men, and failing the expectations of the dear and near, she cathartically produces her memoirs in a seemingly confessional mode. Her final exit from the text leaves it completely deserted and in the care of her daughter, who is overcome by its mesmerizing sincerity and solitude. Its repercussions on her are undisclosed, hence the open-ended denouement.