At the center of Khufu’s Wisdom, Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s majestic first novel, is the legendary Fourth Dynasty monarch Khufu (Cheops), for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.
When a seer prophesies the end of Khufu’s dynasty and the ascension to the throne of Djedefra, son of the High Priest of Ra, the pharaoh must battle to preserve his legacy against the will of the Fates. But in the face of the inexorable attraction between Djedefra and Princess Meresankh, Khufu’s beautiful daughter, Khufu must consider not only his personal ambition and the opposing decree of the heavens, but also how the wisdom he prides himself on as a ruler will guide him in determining the fate of his daughter’s heart.
Translated by Raymond Stock
About the Author
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer in Arabic to do so. He died in August 2006.
Raymond Stock (translator), a doctoral student in Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania, is writing a biography of Naguib Mahfouz. He is the translator of Naguib Mahfouz’s Voices from the Other World and The Dreams.
Praise for Khufu's Wisdom…
“Mahfouz’s novels provide a voice for his culture.” –The Denver Post
“Mahfouz’s work is freshly nuanced and hauntingly lyrical.” –Los Angeles Times
“What is fascinating about this refreshingly gifted writer is that his fiction is at once simple and subtle, serious and ironic, realistic and symbolic, local and universal. Naguib Mahfouz is a writer to read and admire.” –The Globe and Mail
“His towering strength as a writer is his luminous specificity.” –The New York Times Book Review