The Thirty-Third Marriage of Donia Nour

A rebellious prostitute with growing religious doubts teams up with an unruly philosopher to depose a totalitarian regime that has transformed Egypt into a theocratic nightmare.

The Thirty-Third Marriage of Donia Nour

By H.Z. Ilmi
Published July 23, 2013


It’s 2048. Data entry technician Donia Nour wants to smuggle herself out of Egypt—to flee from the prayer monitoring booths, the constant public sermons, the fixation on accumulating computer-tracked good deeds, and the ever-present gaze of the theocratic Nezam. Her only source of funds: one-night “marriages” that require her to undergo hazardous, illegal virginity restoration operations.


It’s 1952. Philosophy professor Ostaz Mukhtar is a cheerful blasphemer looking forward to Egypt’s impending revolution. But an unthinkable journey whisks him away from the comfort of his armchair and leaves him stark naked in the middle of 2048 Cairo. The result is chaos. Ostaz is arrested and charged with atheism—a crime the Nezam cannot tolerate.


Ostaz and Donia are different in every way. Yet when their paths cross and Donia uncovers the truth about Egypt’s oligarchs, they have to work together to somehow topple the Nezam. But can they withstand its cruelty and find a way to reveal its terrible secret?