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Midaq Alley; The Thief and The Dogs; Miramar
Midaq Alley The Thief and The Dogs Miramar Author:Naguib Mahfouz The book contains three complete short novels by this Nobel Prize for Literature award winning author. — MIDAQ ALLEY — this novel by the Egyptian Nobel laureate Mahfouz deals with the plight of impoverished classes in an old quarter of Cairo. The lives and situations depicted create an atmosphere of sadness and tragic realism. Indeed, few of the c... more »haracters are happy or successful. Protagonist Hamida, an orphan raised by a foster mother, is drawn into prostitution. Kirsha, the owner of a cafe in the alley, is a drug addict and a lustful homosexual. Zaita makes a living by disfiguring people so that they can become successful beggars. Transcending time and place, the social issues treated here are relevant to many Arab countries today. With this satisfying tale, Mahfouz, often called the Charles Dickens of Arabic literature, achieves a high level of excellence as a novelist and storyteller. Highly recommended.
- Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.
THE THIEF AND THE DOGS
From Publishers Weekly
Out of prison for less than a day, thief Said Mahran quickly resumes his old ways, and worse. Angered by his young daughter's refusal to even shake hands with the parent she has not seen in four years, and by the chilly reception from Rauf Ilwan, a former colleague in crime whom he suspects of having betrayed him to the police, Mahran goes berserk and seeks revenge with a gun. But this onetime Robin Hood (an ardent nationalist, he stole only from "people who deserved to be robbed") accidentally murders two innocents instead of his intended victims, the new husband of his ex-wife and Ilwan. Pursued by the press and the police, he finds refuge with a prostitute he knows; her flat has a view of a cemetery. The Nobel laureate writes here with remarkable clarity and eloquence. His tale of the haunted, hunted Mahran feverish and suspenseful, introspective and subtle. In just 176 pages, he offers a complex psychological portrait of a man hell-bent on ruining himself.
Naguib Mahfouz has fashioned a highly charged, tightly written tale of intersecting lives that provides readers with both an engaging and powerful story as well as a vivid portrait of life in Egypt in the late 1960s. Set in Alexandria, Miramar tells the violent, tragic story of the former grand hostelry Miramar, now a pension run by an elderly grand dame and a young country girl.« less