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Palace Of Desire: Cairo Trilogy 2 (The Cairo Trilogy) Paperback – 1 Aug 1994

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Frequently Bought Together

Palace Of Desire: Cairo Trilogy 2 (The Cairo Trilogy) + Sugar Street (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol .3) + Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy 1 (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol. 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 Aug. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552995819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552995818
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A masterpiece" (The Times)

"A magnificent, Tolstoyan saga... unmissable" (Cosmopolitan)

"Shamelessly entertaining" (Guardian)

"An engrossing work, whose author can take his place alongside any European master you care to name" (The Sunday Times)

"Teeming with life and contention... it promises riches" (Independent)

Book Description

The second volume in the celebrated Cairo Trilogy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 9 May 2005
Format: Paperback
In the second volume of "The Cairo Trilogy", we follow the progress of Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad's family after the death of Fahmy in a riot against the British. After more than one year, Al-Sayyid Ahmad resumes his visits to Jalila and Zubayda. The later is to become his private mistress on a houseboat on the Nile and later Yasin's wife! Kamal is now seventeen and to Al-Sayyid Ahmad's disappointment he intends to enrol at the Teachers College. His father would wish him to become a civil servant or an engineer but Kamal is more interested in literature and philosophy. He is indeed becoming an adult and his relation with his mother Amina is changing. He feels that he has nothing much to tell her except "meaningless chatter". Another disappointment for Kamal is his love for Aïda who never quite reciprocates his feelings for her.
What makes the second volume interesting is the evolution of the Egyptian society, the rules of which begin to relax as the country inexorably adopts more Western values. These values are difficult to accept for conservative people like those of Al-Sayyid Ahmad's generation. It appears that the family values suffer most from such a modernisation and in this respect Yasin is a good example with his three marriages. Like in the first volume, the reader can expect the highest literary standards in "Palace Of Desire" by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rusty on 14 April 2010
Format: Paperback
This second volume of the Cairo Trilogy really captured my imagination - more so than Palace Walk, its predecessor. I think that's because, five years later in Mahfouz's epic story, the ignorant patriarchal tyranny of Al-Sayyid Ahmad is finally being challenged. Palace Walk, set before the 1919 Egyptian Revolution, is a novel about an odious father who rules his family like a corrupt king. Palace of Desire, set in 1923, reflects a time of change: in the background, it's a political one - and in the foreground, it's a subtle (but acute) domestic one.

Al-Sayidd Ahmad and the old-fashioned Islamic world he represents are the key reasons for this change. He himself remains totally unchanged, even by his advancing age: he still pursues young women like a deluded lech, he still treats his wife like a slave, he still treats his (now adult) children like abject minions. But this oppressive fatherhood is now beginning to reap its own rewards. Fahmy, the eldest son - having been driven to religious extremes by his father's interference - has been killed in an anti-British riot. Yasin, the second son, has inherited his father's womanising ways and causes regular drunken scandals with prostitutes. Khadija, the eldest daughter, has been married off by her father and fallen into bitter dispute with her incompatible mother-in-law. Aisha, the second daughter, has also been married to a man of her father's choosing and is seemingly happy - but fate ultimately decrees that her new family will be struck down by typhoid (paving the way for the third novel in this trilogy, "Sugar Street"). Kamal, the youngest son, is the only family member who eventually recognises - and questions - the destructive effect of his father's household and the archaic Muslim rules that govern it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The superb follow-up to 'Palace Walk' resumes the family saga five years on. Patriarch Ahmad is slightly less of a tyrant since the tragedy:

'It was not out of the question at such a moment for Kamal to ask his father politely ''When will custody of Ridwan revert to his father, Papa?" In that way he demonstrated the dramatic transformation of his relationship to his father.
Al -Sayidd Ahmad had replied "When he turns seven" instead of screaming "Shut up, you son of a bitch!"

Wife Amina enjoys permission to venture out - a little - and has even started speaking her mind on occasion. With the daughters married off, the principal action in this volume comes from the menfolk, notably youngest son Kamal, who has fallen desperately in love with the sister of a wealthy schoolfriend. His pure and obsessive adoration for Aida is utterly compelling, as we follow his maturing and his changes in beliefs.
Older brother Yasin meanwhile continues a life of loose-living; and after a period of abstinence Ahmad too has taken to nights out again, and a new mistress...
Absolutely unputdownable; Mahfouz leaves us on a cliffhanger that means you just have to start on volume 3!
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Format: Paperback
The double standards of 1920s Egypt continue to affect the extended family of Ahmad al Jawad in this second novel of the trilogy, set five or so years after the death of his son Fahmy. This novel concentrates on the senior men of the family in a way that the first was more concerned with the distaff side. Ahmad finds he cannot hold sway over his family as before. Yasin's personal life is a mess, as he rumbles from one marital crisis to another. Meanwhile, the family baby, Kamal, has his heart crushed by the object of his affections, while also being humiliated in front of his friends. The portrait of the pain of unrequited and destroyed love is handled poignantly and with skill. We also get a hint at the end of the book of a tragedy that may be about to befall the family. An excellent sequel to 'Palace Walk'.
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