Iman Mersal’s In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat takes the reader on a quest to unearth the reasons behind a young author’s suicide. Mersal is captivated by the author’s only novel, Love and Silence, which she comes across by chance in Sour Al-Azbakiya. She was drawn to the author’s surname, which resembles that of the award-winning novelist Latifa Al-Zayyat. Mersal assumed a relation between the two, but later learned there was none.
Love and Silence was an obscure semi-autobiographical narrative of grieving woman in the 1950s. Inspired by Al-Zayyat’s own grievances, the book illustrates a young woman’s search for a way out of her despair and into a hopeful future. While Al-Zayyat’s depression consumed her and took her life before the age of thirty, she afforded her protagonist a happier ending. Upon learning of the tragic fate of the author, Mersal made it her mission to track down her story.