Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy 1 (The Cairo Trilogy, Vol. 1) Paperback – 1 Aug 1994
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"It is Mahfouz's wonderful ability to delineate human beings from their outer appearances which gives Palace Walk its universal appeal. I shall read it again and again" (Guardian)
"Naguib Mahfouz's wonderfully readable family saga provides a riveting and accurate portrait of Egyptian society" (Bookseller)
"There is nothing in world literature quite like Palace Walk... This is writing worthy of a Tolstoy, a Flaubert or a Proust" (Independent)
"A masterpiece" (The Times)
"Naguib Mahfouz's CAIRO TRILOGY puts all contemporary writers in the shade. He is the Arab Tolstoy" (Simon Sebag Montefiore Twitter)
The first volume in the celebrated Cairo Trilogy.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As an Egyptian who lived through this period he shows it to us with a sharply focused eye that can portray the inevitability of the changes and both the positive and negative elements of what was lost. The central character, Al-Said Ahmad, combines a laughing, charming side that he exposes to his male friends and concubines and another of a bullying, inflexible autocrat which he shows to his family. He lives his life as a devout muslim and recognises no conflict between these two sides to his life. In the novel he personifies the old pre-war Egypt and his death at the end of the trilogy marks the end of this ancient culture. Palace Walk, the first book in the trilogy, defines traditional Egypt.Read more ›
Just recently, a friend recommended I read the Cairo trilogy. I began with Palace Walk, and haven't yet read the others. This book is SUPERB. Westerners have trouble understanding how Middle Easterners THINK. This book is so wonderful because it takes you inside the mind of each of the characters, in turn, chapter-by-chapter, showing you how each one of them thinks, and allowing you to see their motivations for their behavior. One person commmented in their book review that the majority of the book concentrated on the male characters. There is a reason for this. Egyptian society is mostly about men, not about women. Even as the society modernizes, the THINKING stays the same. Mahfuz has done a masterful character study of each character in the book, as they go therough their daily lives. Without yet having read the two subsequent books, I expect that I will get more in depth into the women's lives in Sugar Street, because this is the house to which the two female daughters have moved upon their marriages to two brothers.
In the past, I have tried to read some other books by this author, and just couldn't get into them. These books are different. They really do merit the Nobel Prize. Reading them now, after being immersed in the Arab culture for 12 years, I see so many more things than I would have noticed had I read the books first. But living in this culture, I can see how accurate they are, and how the men really DO behave and think like the characters in these books!Read more ›
. Head of the house, Ahmad, is brilliantly and convincingly drawn - on the one hand he is a strict Muslim, demanding his wife and daughters live in total seclusion, and keeping all the family in a state of terror at his displeasure, yet every night he goes out on the town with his worldly friends to enjoy wine, women and song.
'Was he two separate people combined into one personality? Was his faith in the divine magnanimity so strong that he could not believe these pleasures really had been forbidden?...He found within himself strong instincts, some directed toward God and tamed through worship and others set for pleasure and quenched in play.'
His meek wife, Amina, devotes herself to pleasing him, never questioning his nocturnal excursions, while she looks out on the world through the slits in the shutters. With them lives stepson Yasin - child of a previous, unfavoured wife - who seems to be inheriting his father's immoral ways- and their own four children: sons Fahmy, a law student, becoming increasingly passionate about the anti-British movement, and mischievous schoolboy Kamal plus two daughters awaiting marriage: beautiful Aisha and her older sister, plain, sharp-tongued Khadija.
I couldn't put this down, and intend to read the other two works in near future. Utterly recommended: an Egyptian Tolstoy.
Leaves the female reader glad she doesn't live in an early 1900s Egyptian home, when she reads quotes like:
'No daughter of mine will marry a man until I am satisfied that his primary motive for marrying her is a sincere desire to be related to me...me...me...me' and
'Women are just another kind of domestic animal and must be treated like one'. !!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Cairo Trilogy is the fictional account of an Egyptian family across three generations. The character of the father and his timid yet hugely resourceful wife is masterly, as is... Read morePublished on 17 April 2014 by Claudia Saatchi
A brilliantly written family saga in which each of the characters really came alive.
An insight into a very different culture and the tyrannical rule of a father/husband.
Turned up very quickly, I had no problems, satisfied with the service, i would purchase again. Book was in great condition.Published on 9 April 2012 by nic
I find it very difficult to understand how this translation has been allowed to stand for 20 years. Academic papers have been written about the badness of Hutchins and Kenny's... Read morePublished on 8 July 2011 by Zed Mahboob
Like father, like son... This could be the motto that underpins Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz. This might be a rather flippant way of summarising a novel approaching 250,000... Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2011 by Philip Spires
Good in parts. A reasonable portrayal of an Egyptian household riddled with hypocrisy and double standards. Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 2011 by Frank Leenuts