On June 13, 1974, Shagara, a low-level employee at the Alexandria shipyard, is charged with taking workers to cheer for the motorcade of Egyptian President Sadat and his guest President Nixon. Instructed to pay each worker half a pound at the end of Nixon’s visit, Shagara pays them half that, spares them the festivities, and pockets the difference. So begins The House of Jasmine, which follows Shagara, a loner who yearns for female companionship, as he traverses the city of Alexandria and tries to parse his feelings toward its changing landscape. Within the humor of this classic novel is nestled an indicting eyewitness account of this essential period of Egyptian history. In it one can observe the social changes and popular sentiments that comprise the prologue for the Egyptian revolution of January 2011.