CAIRO MODERN by Naguib Mahfouz

Set in the 1930s and published in 1945, CAIRO MODERN is, by turns, ironic, satirical, farcical, and, ultimately, cynical, as the author creates a morality tale which takes place in a country where life’s most basic guiding principles are still uncertain. World War II has kept the British on the scene as a foreign power, a weak Egyptian monarchy is under siege by reformers, and the army is growing. As the novel opens, four college students, all due to graduate that year, are arguing moral principles, one planning to live his life according to “the principles that God Almighty has decreed,” while others argue in favor of science as the new religion, materialism, social liberation, and even love as guiding principles. None of the students have any respect for their government, which they see as “rich folks and major families.”

December 28, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Egypt, Nobel Prize for Literature, Satire, World Lit, y Award Winning Author


Written in 1987, this last entry in the Cairo series by Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz is not a novel in the traditional sense. The book has no beginning, middle, and end, and no real plot. There is no standard chronology or strong characters who develop fully during the action. In a bold experiment, Mahfouz uses the traditional Arab biographical dictionary as his structural model for the book.

August 7, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Egypt, Literary, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author