Meet the people of Cairo’s Gamaliya quarter. There is Nabqa, son of Adam the waterseller who can only speak truths; the beautiful and talented Tawhida who does not age with time; Ali Zaidan, the gambler, late to love; and Boss Saqr who stashes his money above the bath. A neighbourhood of demons, dancing and sweet halva, the quarter keeps quiet vigil over the secrets of all who live there.
This collection by pre-eminent Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz was recently discovered among his old papers. Found with a slip of paper titled ‘for publishing 1994’, they are published here for the first time. Resplendent with Mahfouz’s delicate and poignant observations of everyday happenings, these lively stories take the reader deep into the beating heart of Cairo.
About the Author
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 34 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy. Other notable works include The Children of Gebelawi, The Thief and the Dogs, Autumn Quail, Small Talk on the Nile and Miramar. Half of his novels have also been made into films. Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988, the first writer in Arabic to do so. He died in August 2006.
‘A master of both detailed realism and fabulous storytelling’
‘A towering literary figure, and the joyous chronicler of a turbulent Egyptian century’
‘Egypt’s greatest living writer … one of the world’s most humane literary figures’
Laila Lalami, The Nation
‘The Arab Tolstoy’ Simon Sebag Montefiore