In Naguib Mahfouz's suspenseful novel a bitter and ambitious nihilist, a beautiful and impoverished student, and a corrupt official engage in a doomed ménage à trois.
Cairo of the 1930s is a place of vast social and economic inequities. It is also a time of change, when the universities have just opened to women and heady new philosophies imported from Europe are stirring up debates among the young. Mahgub is a fiercely proud student who is determined to keep both his poverty and his lack of principles secret from his idealistic friends. When he finds that there are no jobs for those without connections, out of desperation he agrees to participate in an elaborate deception. But what begins as a mere strategy for survival soon becomes much more for both Mahgub and his partner in crime, an equally desperate young woman named Ihsan. As they make their way through Cairo's lavish high society their precarious charade begins to unravel and the terrible price of Mahgub's Faustian bargain becomes clear.
Translated by William M. Hutchins
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - michaelbartley - LibraryThing
A very good Egyian writer, the story is set in Cairo in the 1930s. It a Faustian story, a young University student, recently graducated full of amition is willing to sell his soul to acheive power and ... Read full review
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1923 Constitution Abd al-Da’im Ahmad Badir al-Fustat al-Qanatir Ali Taha amazing Amr ibn al-‘As anxiety astonishment beautiful began bey’s Cairo Cairo Trilogy delight despair Don‘t door dreams everything eyes face Fadil father fear feeling felt ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁlled ﬁnd ﬁne ﬁnished ﬁrst forget garden gaze girl Giza glance greeted Hamdis Bey Hanbali happiness head heard heart hesitated Ho\v honor hopes hostel hunger Ihsan Shihata Islam Ivlahgub journalist l\/Iahgub laughed lips look Ma’mun Radwan Mahgub Abd man’s marriage married millieme ministry never night ofﬁce manager ofﬁcial parents person philosophy piasters pounds Qasim Bey Fahmi Qur’an Rashad Pasha Street realized remembered replied returned Saad Zaghlul sacriﬁce Salim al-Ikhshidi sarcastically Shihata Turki silent smile social society student Taha Tahiya tell There’s thing thought tion told tone turned Tuzz Uncle Shihata voice Wafd Party waiting wanted wife woman women wondered young