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August 30, 2006

Naguib Mahfouz Has Died

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Mahfouz.jpgNaguib Mahfouz died Wednesday at the age of 94. I believe that I read everything he ever wrote that was translated into English. In fact, except for the Cairo Trilogy, I don't think I ever put one down without finishing it - they were that good. He was the first Arab writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels that depicted Egyptian life in ancient Cairo:

(Via the AP) CAIRO, Egypt - Mahfouz, who was accused of blasphemy by an Islamic militant and survived a stabbing attack 12 years ago (a reminder that all this stuff the world is going through now didn't start just after 9/11), was admitted to the hospital last month after falling in his home and injuring his head. He died Wednesday morning after a sharp decline, said Dr. Hossam Mowafi, head of a medical team supervising his treatment at the Police Hospital.

"His wife last night was whispering on his ears and he was smiling and nodding," Mowafi said.

The Nobel Prize, awarded in 1988, brought to acclaim a man who had already established himself as one of the Middle East's finest and most beloved writers and a strong voice for moderation and religious tolerance.

Continue reading Nobel prize winner Naquib Mahfouz dies...

Egyptian Sandmonkey has additional commentary.

My first Mahfouz novel was The Harafish which an Egyptian physician friend told me about after a conversation about some of the backstreets of Cairo I'd walked through during some of my trips there. After The Harafish, I went through Children of the Alley, Palace Walk (Vol. I of The Cairo Trilogy), and Midag Alley. I highly recommend that you read them all, but I think my personal preference would be to read The Harafish and Children of the Alley first - no particular reason here other than simple personal preference.

Additional coverage at The Big Pharoah

Related: Naquib Mahfouz is the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. In Egypt, each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf.

Rest in Peace Mahfouz, and thanks for all those great books!

Posted by Richard at August 30, 2006 6:21 AM

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