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The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) Hardcover – 1 Sep 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Sep 2001
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1360 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (1 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375413316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375413315
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 6.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The highest achievement of "The Cairo Trilogy [is] the creation of memorable characters whose circumstances of life are unimaginably remote from our own, but whose aspirations are the same. "The Cairo Trilogy extends our knowledge of life; it also confirms it." -"Boston Globe
"Luminous...All the magic, mystery and suffering of Egypt in the 1920s are conveyed on a human scale." -"New York Times Book Review
"The alleys, the houses, the palaces and mosques and the people who live among them are evoked as vividly as the streets of London were conjured up by Dickens." -"Newsweek
"A masterful kaleidoscope of emotions, ideas and perspective. Mahfouz has captured a family and its homeland at one gloriously varied moment in a cycle." -"Newsday
"Mahfouz presents us with a different concept of the world and makes it real. His genius is not just that he shows us Egyptian colonial society in all its complexity; it is that he makes us look through the vision of his vivid characters and see people and ideas that no longer seem alien." -"Philadelphia Inquirer

"The highest achievement of "The Cairo Trilogy" Ýis¨ the creation of memorable characters whose circumstances of life are unimaginably remote from our own, but whose aspirations are the same. "The Cairo Trilogy" extends our knowledge of life; it also confirms it." -"Boston Globe"
"Luminous...All the magic, mystery and suffering of Egypt in the 1920s are conveyed on a human scale." -"New York Times Book Review"
"The alleys, the houses, the palaces and mosques and the people who live among them are evoked as vividly as the streets of London were conjured up by Dickens." -"Newsweek"
"A masterful kaleidoscope of emotions, ideas and perspective. Mahfouz has captured a family and its homeland at one gloriously varied moment in a cycle." -"Newsday"
"Mahfouz presents us with a different concept of the world and makes it real. His genius is not just that he shows us Egyptian colonial society in all its complexity; it is that he makes us look through the vision of his vivid characters and see people and ideas that no longer seem alien." -"Philadelphia Inquirer"

"The highest achievement of "The Cairo Trilogy" [is] the creation of memorable characters whose circumstances of life are unimaginably remote from our own, but whose aspirations are the same. "The Cairo Trilogy" extends our knowledge of life; it also confirms it." -"Boston Globe"
"Luminous...All the magic, mystery and suffering of Egypt in the 1920s are conveyed on a human scale." -"New York Times Book Review"
"The alleys, the houses, the palaces and mosques and the people who live among them are evoked as vividly as the streets of London were conjured up by Dickens." -"Newsweek"
"A masterful kaleidoscope of emotions, ideas and perspective. Mahfouz has captured a family and its homeland at one gloriously varied moment in a cycle." -"Newsday"
"Mahfouz presents us with a different concept of the world and makes it real. His genius is not just that he shows us Egyptian colonial society in all its complexity; it is that he makes us look through the vision of his vivid characters and see people and ideas that no longer seem alien." -"Philadelphia Inquirer"

The highest achievement of "The Cairo Trilogy" [is] the creation of memorable characters whose circumstances of life are unimaginably remote from our own, but whose aspirations are the same. "The Cairo Trilogy" extends our knowledge of life; it also confirms it. "Boston Globe"
Luminous All the magic, mystery and suffering of Egypt in the 1920s are conveyed on a human scale. "New York Times Book Review"
The alleys, the houses, the palaces and mosques and the people who live among them are evoked as vividly as the streets of London were conjured up by Dickens. "Newsweek"
A masterful kaleidoscope of emotions, ideas and perspective. Mahfouz has captured a family and its homeland at one gloriously varied moment in a cycle. "Newsday"
Mahfouz presents us with a different concept of the world and makes it real. His genius is not just that he shows us Egyptian colonial society in all its complexity; it is that he makes us look through the vision of his vivid characters and see people and ideas that no longer seem alien. "Philadelphia Inquirer""

From the Inside Flap

Naguib Mahfouz's magnificent epic trilogy of colonial Egypt appears here in one volume for the first time. The Nobel Prize--winning writer's masterwork is the engrossing story of a Muslim family in Cairo during Britain's occupation of Egypt in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The novels of The Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence. "Palace Walk introduces us to his gentle, oppressed wife, Amina, his cloistered daughters, Aisha and Khadija, and his three sons-the tragic and idealistic Fahmy, the dissolute hedonist Yasin, and the soul-searching intellectual Kamal. Al-Sayyid Ahmad's rebellious children struggle to move beyond his domination in "Palace of Desire, as the world around them opens to the currents of modernity and political and domestic turmoil brought by the 1920s. "Sugar Street brings Mahfouz's vivid tapestry of an evolving Egypt to a dramatic climax as the aging patriarch sees one grandson become a Communist, one a Muslim fundamentalist, and one the lover of a powerful politician.
Throughout the trilogy, the family's trials mirror those of their turbulent country during the years spanning the two World Wars, as change comes to a society that has resisted it for centuries. Filled with compelling drama, earthy humor, and remarkable insight, The Cairo Trilogy is the achievement of a master storyteller.

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Format: Hardcover
The first volume in Mr Mahfouz's trilogy - Bayn al-quasrayn is its original title in Arabic - is set in Cairo a few months before the beginning of the revolution that ultimately lead to the independence of Egypt from the British Rule on April 7, 1919 (incidentally the year Mr Mahfouz was born). This magnificent tale tells the story of the Abd al-Jawad family who live in Palace Walk. Ahmed Abd al-Jawad and his wife Amina have two daughters, Khadija and Aisha, and three sons: Yasin is a secretary at al-Nashin school and the son of his father's previous marriage to Haniya, Fahmy is a law student and Kamal, a 10 year old boy.
As the reader follows the joys, sorrows and temptations of each member of the Abd al-Jawad family, he discovers what life used to be like in Cairo at the beginning of the last century. Mr Mahfouz's prose is full of psychological insight, both cultural and social observations and the tale is told with great affection, humour and sensitivity. It is also worth praising William Maynard Hutchinsons's achievement as a translator in this edition.
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Format: Hardcover
The Cairo trilogy is an essential read for anyone curious about Egyptian history or arab culture. The story is about an Egyptian family from the first world war to the independance of Egypt, but it is also about the importance of traditions in a changing world. Time, as the author himself puts it, is the main character.

Mahfouz's superb narrative and poetic style brought him the Nobel prize of Literature and after reading the three books comprised in the trilogy you will, no doubt, agree that the prize was well deserved. Nicknamed the 'Emile zola of cairo', Naguib Mahfouz managed to create a highly entertaining narrative, while giving a true account of the history of his nation. You will grow page after page more attached to the members of the Abd-el-Gawwad family, so much so that turning the last page, you wish you had still a fourth book to read.Mahfouz draws a portrait of his society without judging the traditions that hold it together.

A true masterpiece fo arab literature, that you will want to read again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite books, I highly recommend it! Please do not be put off by its size! It is a trilogy of three novels, each one neatly divided into small, readable chapters. It is written in straight-forward, simple and accessible language while simultaneously managing to describe life in Egypt beautifully and with attention to detail (without losing focus of the story or going off into tedious descriptions). Naguib Mahfouz has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and this book clearly shows why he deserved it!

The three novels in the book are:
Palace Walk
Palace of Desire
Sugar Street

The story is that of three generations of a family living in Egypt;It begins with al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, the household's 'paterfamilias'. He is a controlling and tyrannical man, who keeps his wife (Amina) on a short leash and dictates to his 5 children as to how they should live and comport themselves. However, once he leaves the house and meets his friends he indulges in all kinds of debauchery and breaks many of his own rules! The children, 3 boys and 2 girls have each got distinct characters and are easy to associate with and tell apart. One of the main characters is Kamal (one of the boys) and the three novels can be seen to represent the three phases of his life from childhood to youth to adulthood. I don't want to give away any of the plot, but it remains interesting throughout all three novels; there are periods of sadness and periods of happiness as occurs in families everywhere in the world. You do not have to be from Egypt to enjoy this book, it is a universal piece of work and I believe it should be more widely read. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did...
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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
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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