In one of the most important novels of his long and illustrious career, Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz tells the story of a delightful Egyptian family, but also reveals a second, hidden, and daring narrative: the spiritual history of mankind. "An ambitious fable that attempts to embrace within it pages not merely the world of the Middle East ...
In one of the most important novels of his long and illustrious career, Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz tells the story of a delightful Egyptian family, but also reveals a second, hidden, and daring narrative: the spiritual history of mankind. "An ambitious fable that attempts to embrace within it pages not merely the world of the Middle East but that of the world itself".--The Washington Post Book World.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-09-30 Originally published in Arabic in 1959, Mahfouz's multigenerational saga presents an allegorical look at spirituality. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1995-11-06 First published in Arabic in 1959, this robust multigenerational arabesque fuses trenchant social allegory and pungent realism in a skein of stories within stories. The ``children'' of Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist Mahfouz's title are beggars, peddlars, drug addicts, homeless, swindlers, cripples and ordinary people struggling to survive in a Cairo neighborhood at once modern and timeless. Their ``alley'' winds up toward a mansion owned by a capricious, secluded feudal lord who cloisters himself while a succession of tyrannical overseers oppresses the common folk through protection rackets, drug dealing, spies and beatings. The alleyæat once a metaphor for Egypt and for all the worldæis rife with echoes of the Bible: among the heroes it produces are the shepherd Qassem, who pioneers nonviolent conflict resolution and later leads a militant revolt, and Rifaa, a carpenter's son who exorcises demons. Each of these leaders hears a voice in the desert, that of the feudal lord (known for issuing the ``Ten Terms''), exhorting him to demand equal rights for the masses and social justice for all. A brief era of brotherhood and peace dawns before gangsterism, greed and territoriality reassert themselves. In this supple translation, Theroux (author of Sandstorms: Days and Nights in Arabia) skillfully conveys Mahfouz's fierce egalitarian message while capturing his gift for masterly storytelling. Mahfouz combines the universal appeal of archetypal dramatic conflictsæbrother murders brother; wife betrays husband into the hands of his enemies; father expels defiant sonæwith the originality of his own inventive narrative structures. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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