“Pointless now to study or revise. Impossible to work. Impossible to do anything except chafe and fret and fight with Lateefa who now wants her children to remain in the inner living-room of their flat and not even sit – with the windows closed – in the outer rooms where the walls could fall in on top of them at any moment. Dada Zeina cannot come any more. She has to stay in her own home and look after her own children. No shops are open to be sent to buy anything from. To go to the club would be unthinkable. Apart from the odd phone conversation with a friend, the world has been narrowed down to the inner living-room. Even novels are no good any more: Asya opens Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, and closes them again. Out there, there is the world and action and history taking shape. And in here: waiting, helplessness – paralysis.”

Ahdaf Soueif, In The Eye of the Sun.