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Naguib Mahfouz at Sidi Gaber: Reflections of a Nobel Laureate, 1994-2001 [Hardcover]

Naguib Mahfouz

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Book Description

Oct. 15 2001 American University in Cairo Press
In one of his regular columns in Al-Ahram Weekly, Naguib Mahfouz at the age of 89 wrote of his feeling of having reached the penultimate station of his life, and noted how it reminded him of his annual journey from Cairo to Alexandria: at Sidi Gaber Station he begins to prepare his luggage, ready to get off the train, because the next station is the final one. This celebratory volume, published on the occasion of the Nobel laureate's 90th birthday, brings together a selection of the more personal, reflective pieces that have appeared over the past seven years. They reveal a writer concerned as always with the human condition, with his own thought processes, and with the craft of writing, offering rare insights into the way a great writer thinks and works. The range and quality of writing is even more remarkable when one remembers that since a nearly fatal knife attack in 1994, the injuries Mahfouz sustained, combined with his failing eyesight, have made it almost impossible for him to write. But as a man who has devoted his life to the written word, Mahfouz now prepares his weekly articles through conversations with his friend Mohamed Salmawy, who has selected and gathered the pieces in this collection. Mahfouz fans and anyone interested in learning more about the life, times, and thoughts of one of the major figures of modern Arabic literature will find this volume an essential addition to their bookshelf.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: American University of Cairo Press; 1 edition (Oct. 15 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 977424673X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774246739
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 14.2 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 395 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #832,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

Since winning the Nobel prize in 1988, Egyptian novelist and short story writer Mahfouz has garnered an increasing number of admirers outside Egypt. Those who appreciate his writings will find this small collection particularly intriguing, for it brings together an eclectic mix of personal reflections at a stage of life (he is now 90 years old) that he describes as the "penultimate station." (The title refers to the Sidi Gaber station, the next to last stop on the annual journey he used to take from Cairo to Alexandria, when he started preparing for his final destination.) Here are more than 100 short pieces, varying in length from one to one and a half pages each, selected from a series of conversations/interviews with Egyptian author Mohamed Salmawy that have appeared in the newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly over the past seven years. Thematically arranged, these pieces offer insights into the way this great writer thinks and his constant concern with the human condition, a principle interest behind the characters and settings he has chosen for many of his novels. Highly recommended for most libraries with large literary collections. Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911 in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He studied philosophy at Cairo University, then worked in various government ministries until his retirement in 1971. His first three published novels were Khufu's Wisdom (1939), Rhadopis of Nubia (1943), and Thebes at War (1944), all of which are set in ancient Egypt. These political and philosophical critiques disguised as historical romances show the unmistakable signs of a burgeoning literary genius. He went on to write more than 35 other novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous cinema plots and scenarios, many of which have been made into successful films. Naguib Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1988. In 2006, he died at the age of 95.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp Through the Mind of a Nobel Prize-Winning Writer April 30 2014
By Neodoering - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is a collection of 500 word essays by the Nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz that outline his take on writing, winning prizes, Egyptian politics, and what the future will look like, to name a few of the topics covered herein. The essays are all short and touch on many subjects, some of which are explored multiple times. This book is full of information about the life and times and thinking of Mahfouz just a few years before his death and directly after he was attacked by religious extremists. In some ways Mahfouz is a product of his times: in politics he was strongly influenced by national events and by his desire to see democracy in Egypt become stronger, and in other ways Mahfouz stands against his society, as in wanting to see more rights for women, for example. One position that surprised me was that Mahfouz doesn't support a ban on human cloning. He believes such brakes on scientific progress are ill-guided and mistaken. He believes that scientific inquiry should be allowed to wander where it will, a stance that puts him at odds with the United States and Western Europe, which have banned human cloning experiments.

I read this entire book (153 pages) in a single sitting and have to admit that I really enjoyed the experience. I've read many of Mahfouz's books and have been looking forward to a break in my reading schedule to read this book. I think my favorite of his books remains *Midaq Alley*, though *Adrift on the Nile* was also a good time. I found the Cairo Trilogy to be too ugly to enjoy and quit partway through the second book in the set; I have to be able to root for at least one or two of the characters, and the characters in the Cairo Trilogy were so disgusting that I did not care if they lived or died. There are plenty of Mahfouz's books which I have not yet read, and I look forward to picking these up as the years wear on. Mahfouz was an important writer, and I'm disappointed to see that this review is the first review of this book. Are Americans not reading Mahfouz? Has the younger generation never heard of him? Why is no one exploring the man's thinking, especially in a slim volume you can read in 3 hours? Get this book and read it, it's interesting and will challenge your view of the MIddle East and its inhabitants and will acquaint you with some Egyptian culture and politics. In a time when the only models of Middle Eastern manhood that we have in the West are terrorists, Mahfouz will be a breath of fresh air and a challenge to the sensibility. Rise to the occasion!

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