Selected and translated by the distinguished scholar Denys Johnson-Daivies, these stories have all the celebrated and distinctive characters and qualities found in Mahfouz's novels: The denizens of the dark, narrow alleyways of Cairo, who struggle to survive the poverty; melancholy ruminations on death; experiments with the supernatural; and witty excursions into Cairene middle-class life.
This unusual epic from the Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz portrays five generations of one sprawling family against the upheavals of two centuries of modern Egyptian history.Set in Cairo, traces three related families from the arrival of Napoleon to the 1980s, through short character sketches arranged in alphabetical order. This highly experimental device produces a kind of biographical dictionary, whose individual entries come together to paint a vivid portrait of life in Cairo from a range of perspectives. The characters include representatives of every class and human type and as the intricate family saga unfolds, a powerful picture of a society in transition emerges. This is a tale of change and continuity, of the death of a traditional way of life and the road to independence and beyond, seen through the eyes of Egypt's citizens. Naguib Mahfouz's last chronicle of Cairo is both an elegy to a bygone era and a tribute to the Egyptian spirit.
Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz reaches back millennia to his homeland’s majestic past in this enchanting collection of early tales that brings the world of ancient Egypt face to face with our own times.
From the Predynastic Period, where a cabal of entrenched rulers banish virtue in jealous defense of their status, to the Fifth Dynasty, where a Pharaoh returns from an extended leave to find that only his dog has remained loyal, to the twentieth century, where a mummy from the Eighteenth Dynasty awakens in fury to reproach a modern Egyptian nobleman for his arrogance, these five stories conduct timeless truths over the course of thousands of years. Summoning the power and mystery of a legendary civilization, they examplify the artistry that has made Mahfouz among the most revered writers in world literature.
A stunning example of Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz’s psychological portraiture, is the story of an intense young man who has been so dominated by his mother that her death sets him dangerously adrift in a world he cannot manage alone.
Kamil Ru’ba is a tortured soul who hopes that writing the story of his life will help him gain control of it. Raised by a mother who fled her abusive husband and became overbearingly possessive and protective toward her young son, he has long been isolated emotionally and physically. Now in his twenties, Kamil seeks to escape her posthumous grasp. Finding and successfully courting the woman of his dreams seems to promise salvation, until his ignorance of mature love and his fear and jealousy lead to tragedy.
Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz draws on his homeland’s rich engagement with the afterlife — and his own near-death experience at the hands of a would-be assassin — in these newly translated, brilliantly mysterious stories of the supernatural.
Among those who haunt these tales are the ghosts of Akhenaten, Woodrow Wilson, and Gamal Abd al-Nasser, who endure a strange system of earthly probation in the hope of gaining entry to the fabled Seventh Heaven; a teenager drawn into the secret, enchanted life he finds within his neighborhood’s forbidden wood; an honest perfume seller accosted on a night out by angry skeletons; and Satan himself, who confesses that there is still, despite the flood of evil in our times, an honorable man in the land. As ingenious at capturing the surreal as he is at documenting the very real social landscape of modern Cairo, Mahfouz guides these restless spirits as they migrate from the shadowy realms of other worlds to the haunted precincts of our own.
The time is 1942, World War II is at its height, and the Africa Campaign is raging along the northern coast of Egypt. Against this backdrop, Mahfouz’s novel tells the story of the Akifs, a middle-class family that has taken refuge in Cairo’s colorful and bustling Khan al-Khalili neighborhood. Believing that the German forces will never bomb such a famously religious part of the city, they leave their more elegant neighborhood and seek safety among the crowded alleyways, busy cafés, and ancient mosques of the Khan. Through the eyes of Ahmad, the eldest Akif son, Mahfouz presents a richly textured vision of the Khan, and of a crisis that pits history against modernity and faith against secularism. Fans of and will not want to miss this engaging and sensitive portrayal of a family at the crossroads of the old world and the new.
In his final years, Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz distilled his storyteller's art to its most essential level. Written with the compression and power of dreams, these poetic vignettes, originally collected in two books, and , here combined in one volume for the first time.
These stories telescope epic tales into tersely haunting miniatures. A man finds his neighborhood has turned into a circus, but his joy turns to anger when he cannot escape it. An obscure writer finally achieves fame-through the epitaph on his grave. A group of friends telling jokes in an alley face the murderous revenge of an ancient Egyptian queen. Figures from Mahfouz's past-women he loved, men who inspired him, even fictional characters from his own novels-float through tales dreamed by a mind too fertile ever to rest, even in sleep.
In this gripping and suspenseful novella from the Egyptian Nobel Prize-winner, three young friends survive interrogation by the secret police, only to find their lives poisoned by suspicion, fear, and betrayal. At a Cairo café in the 1960s, a legendary former belly dancer lovingly presides over a boisterous family of regulars, including a group of idealistic university students. One day, amid reports of a wave of arrests, three of the students disappear: the excitable Hilmi, his friend Ismail, and Ismail's beautiful girlfriend Zaynab. When they return months later, they are apparently unharmed and yet subtly and profoundly changed. It is only years later, after their lives have been further shattered, that the narrator pieces together the young people's horrific stories and learns how the government used them against one another. In a riveting final chapter, their torturer himself enters the Café and sits among his former victims, claiming a right to join their society of the disillusioned. Now translated into English for the first time, Naguib Mahfouz's tale of the insidious effects of government-sanctioned torture and the suspension of rights and freedoms in a time of crisis is shockingly contemporary.
A classic Mahfouz story exploring themes of marriage across class lines, spirituality, and the harsh realities of a precarious life.
Jaafar Ibrahim Sayyed al-Rawi, the main character in this most recently translated Mahfouz novel, is guided by his motto, "let life be filled with holy madness to the last breath." He narrates his life story to a friend during one long night in a caf in old Cairo. Through a series of bad decisions, he has lost everything: his family, his position in society, and his fortune. A man driven by his passions, he married a beautiful Bedouin nomad for love, and as a consequence pays a punishingly high price. From a life of comfort with a promising future guaranteed by his wealthy grandfather, he descends to the spartan life of a pauper, after being disinherited. Jaafar faces his tribulations with surprising stoicism and hope, sustained by his strong convictions, his spirituality, his sense of mission, and his deep desire to bring social justice to his people.
Nearly sixty of Egypt’s past leaders — from the time of the Pharoahs to the twentieth century — are summoned to judgment in the Court of Osiris in the Afterlife, in this extraordinary novel by Nobel Prize — winning author Naguib Mahfouz.
A stunning novel by the widest-read Arab writer currently published in the U.S. The age of Nasser has ushered in enormous social change, and most of the middle-aged and middle-class sons and daughters of the old bourgeoisie find themselves trying to recreate the cozy, enchanted world they so dearly miss. One night, however, art and reality collide — with unforeseen circumstances.
Palace Walk is the first novel in Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz’s magnificent Cairo Trilogy, an epic family saga of colonial Egypt that is considered his masterwork.
The novels of the Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence. Palace Walk introduces us to his gentle, oppressed wife, Amina, his cloistered daughters, Aisha and Khadija, and his three sons — the tragic and idealistic Fahmy, the dissolute hedonist Yasin, and the soul-searching intellectual Kamal. The family’s trials mirror those of their turbulent country during the years spanning the two world wars, as change comes to a society that has resisted it for centuries.
Considered by many to be Mahfouz's best novel, Midaq Alley centers around the residents of one of the hustling, teeming back alleys of Cairo. No other novel so vividly evokes the sights and sounds of the city. The universality and timelessness of this book cannot be denied.
The novels of the Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence. brings Mahfouz’s vivid tapestry of an evolving Egypt to a dramatic climax as the aging patriarch sees one grandson become a Communist, one a Muslim fundamentalist, and one the lover of a powerful politician. Filled with compelling drama, earthy humor, and remarkable insight, Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy is the achievement of a master storyteller.
The novels of the Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence. In , his rebellious children struggle to move beyond his domination, as the world around them opens to the currents of modernity and political and domestic turmoil brought by the 1920s.
The novelist's camera pans from the dome of King Fuad University (now Cairo University) to students streaming out of the campus, focusing on four students in their twenties, each representing a different trend in Egypt in the 1930s. Finally the camera comes to rest on Mahgub Abd al-Da'im. A scamp, he fancies himself a nihilist, a hedonist, an egotist, but his personal vulnerability is soon revealed by a family crisis back home in al-Qanatir, a dusty, provincial town on the Nile that is also a popular destination for Cairene day-trippers. Mahgub, like many characters in works by Naguib Mahfouz, has a hard time finding the correct setting on his ambition gauge. His emotional life also fluctuates between the extremes of a street girl, who makes her living gathering cigarette butts, and his wealthy cousin Tahiya. Since he thinks that virtue is merely a social construct, how far will our would-be nihilist go in trying to fulfill his unbridled ambitions? What if he discovers that high society is more corrupt and cynical than he is? With a wink back at Goethe's Faust and Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews, Mahgub becomes a willing collaborator in his own corruption. Published in Arabic in the 1940s, this cautionary morality tale about self-defeating egoism and ill-digested foreign philosophies comes from the same period as one of the writer's best-known works, Midaq Alley. Both novels are comic and heart-felt indictments not so much of Egyptian society between the world wars as of human nature and our paltry attempts to establish just societies.
Naguib Mahfouz is the most prominent author of Arabic fiction published in English today. He was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, he has been influenced by many Western writers, including Flaubert, Balzac, Zola, Camus, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and, above all, Proust. He has more than thirty novels to his credit, ranging from his earliest historical romances to his most recent experimental novels. In 1988, Mr. Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He lives in the Cairo suburb of Agouza with his wife and two daughters.
Naguib Mahfouz is Egypt's most famous novelist and his leading role in Arabic literature remains assured. He is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels and more than a hundred short stories; in Egypt each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf. If only because of his impact on the Arab world, Mahfouz must be considered an author of international importance.
"This is a psychological novel, impressionist rather than realist; it moves with the speed and economy of a detective story. Here Mahfouz uses the "stream of consciousness" technique for the first time to show the mental anguish of the central figure consumed by bitterness and a desire for revenge against the individuals and the society who have corrupted and betrayed him and brought about his inevitable damnation. It is a masterly work, swiftly giving the reader a keenly accurate vision of the workings of a sick and embittered mind doomed to self-destruction."
From the Introduction by Trevor Le Gassick
From Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz: the three magnificent novels—published in an omnibus edition for the first time — that form an ancient-Egyptian counterpart to his famous .
Mahfouz reaches back thousands of years to bring us tales from his homeland's majestic early history — tales of the Egyptian nobility and of war, star-crossed love, and the divine rule of the pharoahs. In , the legendary Fourth Dynasty monarch faces the prospect of the end of his rule and the possibility that his daughter has fallen in love with the man prophesied to be his successor. is the unforgettable story of the charismatic young Pharoah Merenra II and the ravishing courtesan Rhadopis, whose love affair makes them the envy of all Egyptian society. And tells the epic story of Egypt's victory over the Asiatic foreigners who dominated the country for two centuries.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and author of the Cairo trilogy, comes Akhenaten, a fascinating work of fiction about the most infamous pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
In this beguiling new novel, originally published in 1985 and now appearing for the first time in the United States, Mahfouz tells with extraordinary insight the story of the "heretic pharaoh," or "sun king,"-and the first known monotheistic ruler-whose iconoclastic and controversial reign during the 18th Dynasty (1540-1307 B.C.) has uncanny resonance with modern sensibilities. Narrating the novel is a young man with a passion for the truth, who questions the pharaoh's contemporaries after his horrible death-including Akhenaten's closest friends, his most bitter enemies, and finally his enigmatic wife, Nefertiti-in an effort to discover what really happened in those strange, dark days at Akhenaten's court. As our narrator and each of the subjects he interviews contribute their version of Akhenaten, "the truth" becomes increasingly evanescent. Akhenaten encompasses all of the contradictions his subjects see in him: at once cruel and empathic, feminine and barbaric, mad and divinely inspired, his character, as Mahfouz imagines him, is eerily modern, and fascinatingly ethereal. An ambitious and exceptionally lucid and accessible book, Akhenaten is a work only Mahfouz could render so elegantly, so irresistibly.