Palace Walk (Mahfouz)

Book Reviews 
For all its family intrigues, the novel is more than a domestic saga. It is the story of the awakening of an entire generation to the social and political realities of the 20th century. What makes this a particularly Arab novel is the characters' continued faith in Islam, which must evolve in new ways to preserve the cultural identity of a people being overwhelmed by foreign, secular ideologies. The universal appeal of Mr. Mahfouz's characters and his insight into the role of religion in their lives will go a long way toward demystifying Western readers' views of the Middle East.
Edward Hower - New York Times Book Review


Critics sometimes call Naguib Mahfouz the Balzac of Egypt because of the way his works express the pulsating energy of city life and because of their psychologically nuanced characters and broad social concern. The "Cairo Trilogy," which he wrote in the late 1950's and which is generally regarded as his most important work.... Each of the three books in the "Cairo Trilogy" is named for a street in the old section of the city and each chronicles three generations of a Cairene family before, during and after the 1952 military coup that overthrew King Farouk and eventually brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power.
William Honan - New York Times


It is a masterwork...because it is not just a social portrayal but penetrates the psyche, the intellect and the soul of the Egyptian people.... It is also a symbolic work because through the development of its characters you can see the development of modern Egypt.
Sasson Somekh - Tel Aviv and Princeton Universities


This first volume in the 1988 Nobel Prize winner's "Cairo Trilogy" describes the disintegrating family life of a tyrannical, prosperous merchant, his timid wife and their rebellious children in post-WW I Egypt. Mahfouz is a master at building up dramatic scenes and at portraying complex characters in depth.
Publishers Weekly


This extraordinary novel provides a close look into Cairo society at the end of World War I. Mahfouz's vehicle for this examination is the family of al-Sayyid Ahmad, a middle-class merchant who runs his family strictly according to the Qur'an and directs his own behavior according to his desires. Consequently, while his wife and two daughters remain cloistered at home, and his three sons live in fear of his harsh will, al-Sayyid Ahmad nightly explores the pleasures of Cairo. Written by the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize, Palace Walk begins Mahfouz's highly acclaimed "Cairo Trilogy,'' which follows Egypt's development from 1917 to nationalism and Nasser in the 1950s. This novel's enchanting style and sweeping social tapestry ensure a large audience, one that will eagerly await the English translation of the entire trilogy. A significant addition to any collection. —Paul E. Hutchison, Fishermans Paradise, Bellefonte, PA
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