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, Morning and Evening Talk 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.
About the Author
NAGUIB MAHFOUZ was born in 1911 in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He studied philosophy at Cairo University, then worked in various government ministries until his retirement in 1971. His first three published novels were Khufu's Wisdom (1939), Rhadopis of Nubia (1943), and Thebes at War (1944), all of which are set in ancient Egypt. These political and philosophical critiques disguised as historical romances show the unmistakable signs of a burgeoning literary genius. He went on to write more than 35 other novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous cinema plots and scenarios, many of which have been made into successful films. Naguib Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1988. In 2006, he died at the age of 95.
CHRISTINA PHILLIPS has a PhD in modern Arabic Literature and works in the Qur'anic Studies Department at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
“Like an acrostic. . . . The banal and the brilliant, birth and death, history and politics tossed together-it reads, ironically, just like life.” —The California Literary Review“[Mahfouz is] a storyteller of the first order in any idiom.” —Vanity Fair