Adrift on the Nile

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Doubleday, Jan 1, 1993 - Fiction - 167 pages
4 Reviews
For the thousands of devoted readers of Naguib Mahfouz's The Cairo Trilogy, Adrift on the Nile - first published in Arabic in 1966 - will be an exciting and dramatic change of pace. In elegant and economic prose, Mahfouz creates - out of the simplest of plots - a telling commentary on human nature. It is the late sixties, and for the group of friends who meet night after night on a houseboat moored along the banks of the Nile, life is not what it used to be. Nasser has ushered in an age of enormous social change; responsibility is the watchword, and there is no time for the frivolous or the absurd. In this serious world, the theory of "art for art's sake" has been usurped by the concepts of committed theater, social realism, and art with a message for the people. These middle-aged and middle-class sons and daughters of the old bourgeoisie are left high and dry, to gather beneath the moonlight, smoking and chatting, hoping to re-create the cozy and enchanted world they so dearly miss. Their witty sallies are as inconsequential as the midges that weave around the lamp. They wistfully hark back to the High Middle Ages of the Mamluk sultans. Their constant companion is the pipe, filled with kif or hashish, whose heady smoke provides oblivion from their existential terror and despair. But one night, art and reality collide - with unforeseen consequences. At once thrilling and deeply serious, Adrift on the Nile is a tale that exposes the crisis of man - and artist - in modern times.

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User Review  - bell7 - LibraryThing

In the 1960s, a group of friends meet nightly on a houseboat on the Nile and get high. They don't concern themselves with the world around them because doing so will change nothing. Like the houseboat ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - iftyzaidi - LibraryThing

A group of middle age men and women gather on a houseboat every night to drink, shoot the breeze and get high, their lives marked by cynicism and ennui. Into this gathering is introduced a young ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo, Egypt on December 11, 1911. He received a degree in philosophy from the University of Cairo. He took on several civil service and government department jobs to supplement his income while writing, but retired from that career in 1971. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 30 novels including The Games of Fate, The Cairo Trilogy, Children of Gebelawi, The Thief and the Dogs, Autumn Quail, Small Talk on the Nile, and Miramar. He received numerous awards including the Egyptian State Prize, the Presidential Medal from the American University in Cairo, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He died as a result of a head injury on August 30, 2006 at the age of 94.

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