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Sugar Street (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol .3) Paperback – 1 Aug 1994


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Frequently Bought Together

Sugar Street (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol .3) + Palace Of Desire: Cairo Trilogy 2 (The Cairo Trilogy) + Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy 1 (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol. 1)
Price For All Three: £27.45

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (1 Aug. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552995827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552995825
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'The Cairo Trilogy has made its mark on Anglo-American literary tastes because of its unusual grandeur, a technically "Good Read" - recalling Dickens, Flaubert, Zola, even Galsworthy - which still engages the dynamic society of Egypt in the first half of the century'" (Glasgow Herald)

"'His masterpiece'" (The Sunday Times)

"'Mahfouz's scope is vast and his concerns are not only still evident today, but crucial'" (The Scotsman)

"'Proust, Tolstoy and Balzac are the names most frequently flung around in company with that of Mahfouz...I thought of Galsworthy, reading Sugar Street'" (Spectator)

"'Sugar Street is a marvellous novel, with many messages, open and concealed, for those who will be instructed'" (The Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

The final volume in the celebrated Cairo Trilogy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Imperial Topaz on 17 July 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the third book in the Cairo Trilogy Series. By all means, do NOT try to read this book without having read Palace Walk or Palace of Desire FIRST--it would be like tuning in to a movie in the last half hour.
This book opens with the father and his wife in old age, in their 60's, their children in middle age, and the younger (third) generation entering their 20's. It continues the interesting saga. The book finishes shortly after both the father and his wife eventually die of old age.
This entire series is SLOW DRAMA (warning for those who like "action"), but one of the BEST pieces of literature I have ever read in my life. I have lived in the Middle East for 11 years, and this entire series REALLY shows the Middle Eastern culture and way of thinking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Imperial Topaz on 16 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the third book in the Cairo Trilogy Series. By all means, do NOT try to read this book without having read Palace Walk or Palace of Desire FIRST--it would be like tuning in to a movie in the last half hour.
This book opens with the father and his wife in old age, in their 60's, their children in middle age, and the younger (third) generation entering their 20's. It continues the interesting saga. The book finishes shortly after both the father and his wife eventually die of old age.
This entire series is SLOW DRAMA (warning for those who like "action"), but one of the BEST pieces of literature I have ever read in my life. I have lived in the Middle East for 11 years, and this entire series REALLY shows the Middle Eastern culture and way of thinking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 11 May 2005
Format: Paperback
In the third part of "The Cairo Trilogy", life of the Abd al-Jawad family goes on. Amina's body now withered, her hair white, ill health and grief having altered her considerably. Her diligence and her capacity for running the household are now gone. She no longer pays attention to her home except for the services to her husband al-Sayyid Ahmad, once a vigorous man in full swing. He now suffers from high blood pressure and he had to give up many of the pleasures of life - drinks, women and good food. In fact, many months before dying, he is completely bedridden, a particularly humiliating situation for a man with such a strong ego.
Here Mr Mahfouz casts a compassionate glance at the irony of life which makes elderly people become utterly dependant on others, as they used to be when they were infants. For Kamal, now thirty-six, it is sad to see his family age, all the more since he refuses to get married and thus spends a lot of time aloof and lonely. Aiming at becoming a true intellectual, Kamal often collides with doubt and struggles with instincts and passions and is becoming "an emotionally crippled recluse". He often broods about his youth, his love for Aïda and the eternal loss of the enchanting past.
But there are also reasons to rejoice as the younger generation takes over and ascends in society. Marriages take place, careers are planned. Mr Mahfouz splendidly portrays this cycle of life in which the old generation gives way to the boisterous and cheerful young one. This is shown in the moving final scene when Kamal and his brother Yasin enter a store where the former buys several items for his daughter's baby while the latter buys a black necktie he will need when the mournful day of his mother's death arrives...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 April 1998
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoyed this book. Being a muslim and an arab, I could identify with the characters and their dilemmas. I think that it would be of great benefit to the reader if they had a background knowledge of Egypt and Islam in general. The author assumes that the reader is from the Middle East, therefore he does not explain the significance of some of the words. All in all, Sugar Street is an excellent book that deserved its Noble Prize.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Doyle on 9 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought my copy of Sugar street while on holiday - from the brilliant bookshop at the American University in Cairo, just off Tahrir Square. And I was very glad I did.

The book teems with life, describing Egypt at a pivotal moment as the country searches for identity as traditional colonialism fades away in the run up to the Second World War. A grandfather who is the head of an extended family watches on as his children and grandchildren either marry or don't (a great emphasis is put on the marital outcomes of the characters), and get involved in politics, journalism, the embryonic Muslim Brotherhood, academic life, or simply creep along through the civil service ranks, hanging out in coffeeshops, late-night bars and brothels.

It's interesting to watch as their fates are decided (particularly that of Kamal, who has an existential quality and who seems unable to engage with the world) and the characters are tightly drawn. There are also wonderful splashes of humour.

Above all, I loved the exquisitely well-chosen vocabulary and witticisms - "youth is a curse, but maturity's a string of curses" and so on. A great read for a holiday in Egypt... or anywhere.
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Format: Paperback
"Sugar Street" reads as though it was written in a hurry, or under pressure - or even as though Mahfouz wanted to finish his trilogy and move on to something else. This doesn't affect the quality of the writing, it's still incredibly good - but it now has a "clipped" feel and doesn't keep the slow, languid pace of Volumes 1 and 2. Chapters are much shorter and characters develop a lot faster... time moves quicker and every now and then the author slips into the first-person, which seems experimental and out of keeping with what has come before.

But this novel does serve as a beautiful endpoint to the Al Jawad saga, showing the old generation giving way to the new. It's marvellous how Mahfouz turns the tables on the tyrannical Al-Sayyid Ahmad - in the first novel, the women of his household are forced to view life from a latticed balcony, never allowed to go out, made to live as prisoners in their own home. Old age has brought the same fate to Al-Sayyid Ahmad, who is now trapped behind the same screened balcony and has no control over his own life let alone the lives of his wife and children. I thought this was just desserts for such a vile lead character (who I must admit, I always hated from page one) and I was genuinely pleased when he died in total insignificance, a shadow of his former self. I consider this a job seriously well done - Mahfouz built this man up and then broke him down in such a clever, carefully planned way. This is excellent realist literature, lots of showing and very little telling.

Some of the female characters get harsh treatment in this final novel: Aisha gets a particularly raw deal, Aida falls from grace and gets killed off, side characters like Zubayda and Maryam get discarded by men and sink into seedy brothels and bars.
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