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.
Translated by William Maynard Hutchins and Olive E. Kenny
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.
William Maynard Hutchins, the principal translator of Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy (AUC Press 1990?92), has taught English, philosophy, Arabic, and Islamic Studies in Lebanon, Ghana, Egypt, and France. His most recent book is Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide.
“The alleys, the houses, the palaces and mosques and the people who live among them are evoked as vividly in Mahfouz’s work as the streets of London were conjured up by Dickens.” —Newsweek
“Rich in psychological insight and cultural observation. . . . A majestic and capacious accomplishment.” —The Boston Globe
“A tale told with great affection, humor, and sensitivity, in a style that in this translation is always accessible and elegant.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Palace Walk is a feast indeed.” —Chicago Tribune