Palace of Desire: The Cairo Trilogy, Volume 2 Paperback – Nov 29 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In this second volume of Nobel laureate Mahfouz's Cairo trilogy, a tyrannical father discovers that his mistress has secretly married his just-divorced son. "A masterpiece, albeit a wordy, very leisurely one, this family saga is well served by a scintillating translation that exposes English-language readers to an Egyptian Balzac," said PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Al-Sayyid Ahmad is mellowing as he leaves middle age. As this second novel of "The Cairo Trilogy" opens, he is ending his self-imposed abstention from liquor and women, begun five years earlier upon the death of his son, Fahmy. With shouts of joy, his friends welcome him back to their nightly revels, and al-Sayyid Ahmad promtly begins a new love affair. Meanwhile, his children are struggling with life beyond their father's domination. Yasin is twice divorced and incapable of resisting any woman. The two married daughters are split by an open feud. And Kamal, the intellectual center of this novel, enters college, where he suffers the three furies of religion, science, and romance. Through all these avenues, Mahfouz pursues his fascinating examination of Cairo's Islamic culture as it opens to modern influences. This novel continues the outstanding quality of this trilogy, leaving readers anxious for the final volume.
-Paul E. Hutchison, Pequea, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
While sometimes I found the narrative a bit slow (too much of Kamal's ruminations on the nature of love, for example), I still enjoyed this section of the saga. I got a feel for Mahfouz' world view and a further education on the Middle Eastern mind. Egypt continues in a turmoil which parallels that of the young Kamal. Europe beckons, taking his best friend from him. The Western Influence is a source of pain and curiosity at the same time. More and more the reader comes to see why the Middle East views the West with scepticism and scorn.
Kamal's father begins to slide into infirmity, losing physical strength but not inner passion, and the family will soon no doubt have to deal with the problems related to the possible loss of its patriarch.
As always, well written, compelling narrative, for the most part. I will continue to complete the trilogy by reading "Sugar Street." This family saga is one I want to complete.
If you enjoyed the "Palace Walk" then "Palace of Desire" is a must read. As the title implies this book is about love & desire, albeit Islamic style. There are some hilarious scenes such as when the father discovers his mistress is cheating on him with his son or when the brothers meet in a brothel. The sisters are not forgotten in this continuing story, you find out how their married lives have gone.
For me, this whole trilogy is a really human look into another culture so different than our own here in North America. People are people with similar urges and feelings, and will find ways to express or control desires through whatever outlets happen to be available.
It should be noted that "less difficult" is not that same as "easy" or "easier". This marks an important distinction, one underscored by these books. Arabic language, society and sensibilities are colored much more by nuances and multiple permutations on a few basic themes than is true in Western society.
Naguib Mahfouz is a Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist who adeptly and adroitly captures these nuances and evokes a genuine feel for-if not true understanding of-their intrinsic roots within the Arabic weltanschauung.
Clearly, based on the reviews to date for this book, there are many who have difficulty with this dynamic.Read more ›
The book brilliantly evokes the lost world of 20's Cairo and there are some funny set pieces, typically involving sex. But the story is badly under plotted and presents fairly few ideas, two factors which combine to make for a pretty lackluster read. As the story meanders along, we get a richly detailed picture of these peoples lives, but seem to be living them in real time; one longs for something, other than the sort of casual serial adultery which is the staple of the book, to happen.
I didn't like it nearly as much as Palace Walk, but it was still worthwhile as a sharply observed portrait of a time and place about which we in the West know fairly little.
Most recent customer reviews
A continuation of Palace Walk, the story seemed to drag on. I found Kamal's intellectual transformations interesting, but quickly tired of Yasin's escapades and the focus on men... Read morePublished on April 10 2004 by J. Jacobs
While this book could be read on it's own, I highly suggest reading Palace Walk first, as it is a sequel. Read morePublished on July 13 2003 by Imperial Topaz
As a college teacher trying to help American students to understand why we are not universally popular in the Middle East, I have found that fiction works better than any number of... Read morePublished on May 9 2002 by sally a mcnall
I absolutely LOVED Palace Walk, and couldn't wait to read the second book of the trilogy. But unlike the first, I found myself reading the same page over and over again until I... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 1999
Mafouz has won the nobel prize for literature so I'm surprised I'm the first one here. This family is engaging and the way of life in Cairo almost palpable in this trilogy. Read morePublished on July 9 1999
A marvellous sequel to "Palace Walk". It's a book about love, religion, despair, love, life and love once more. Read morePublished on June 11 1999 by Ahmet E. Gumrukcuoglu