Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz mines the riches of his homeland’s ancient past in Rhadopis of Nubia, an unforgettable love story set against the high politics of Egypt’s Sixth Dynasty.
While the ravishing courtesan Rhadopis is bathing, a falcon lifts one of her golden sandals and drops it into the lap of the Pharaoh Merenra II. Upon hearing Rhadopis described as “beauty itself,” the young pharaoh decides to return Rhadopis’s sandal himself. When the two meet, they are immediately seized by a passion far stronger than their ability to resist. Thus begins a love affair that makes them the envy of Egyptian society. But blinded by their love and the extravagant attentions they lavish on each other, they ignore the growing resentment of the world around them in this extraordinary tale of star-crossed love.
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.
Anthony Calderbank has translated several works of modern Arabic fiction, including Haggag Hassan Oddoul's Nights of Musk (AUC Press, 2005) and Yousef al-Mohaimeed's Wolves of the Crescent Moon (AUC Press, 2007). He lives and works in Saudi Arabia.
“Mahfouz’s characters blaze with intensity, his Egypt pulsates with unresolved tensions.” –The Atlanta Constitution
“Through works rich in nuance–now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous–Mahfouz has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind.” –The Swedish Academy, The Nobel Prize in Literature
“Mahfouz’s novels provide a voice for his culture.” –The Denver Post
“He is not only a Hugo and a Dickens, but also a Galsworthy, a Mann, a Zola and a Jules Romains.” –Edward Said, London Review of Books