In the November edition of New English Review, our globe-trotting doctor considers the legacy of Gilles Kepel, his own travels to Egypt and Burma, and how Damascus was a most pleasant city to visit despite the vicious regime of Hafiz al-Assad.
My only memory of Asyut was of an excellent witticism made by an Egyptian as I was sitting in a café there reading a book. He was about fifty, dressed in western clothes, and approached me as I read.
‘What are you reading?’ he asked, in perfect English.
I showed him: A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd.
‘A good man in Africa?’ he said. ‘I’d like to meet him.’