"The time is 1942, the Second World War is at its height, and the Africa Campaign is raging along the northern coast of Egypt as far as El Alamein. Against this backdrop of international upheaval, the novel tells the story of the Akifs, a middle-class family that has taken refuge in Cairo's historic and bustling Khan al-Khalili neighborhood. Believing that the German forces will never bomb such a famously religious part of the city, they seek safety among the crowded alleyways, busy cafes, and ancient mosques of the Khan, adjacent to the area where Mahfouz himself spent much of his young life. Through the eyes of Ahmad, the eldest Akif son and the novel's central character, Mahfouz presents a richly textured vision of the Khan, drawing on his own memories to assemble a lively cast of characters whose world is framed by the sights, smells, and flavors of his childhood home. As Ahmad, a minor civil servant who has sacrificed both education and personal ambition in order to support his family, interacts with the people and traditions of Khan al-Khalili, a debate emerges that pits old against new, history against modernity, and faith against secularism. Addressing one of the fundamental questions of the modern era, Mahfouz asks whether, like the German bombsthat threaten Khan al-Khalili daily, progress must necessarily be accompanied by the destruction of the past. Fans of Midaq Alley, The Beginning and the End, and The Cairo Trilogy will not want to miss this engaging and sensitive portrayal of a family atthe crossroads of the old world and the new."-- p.  of cover.
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Abbas Shifa Ahmad Akif Ahmad Rashid al-Husayn al-jahiz al-Sakakini anger apartment asked Asyut aware balcony bomb Boss Nunu Boss Zifta Brethren of Purity café Cairo coughing dear delighted despair doctor door Effendi Egyptian entire face fact father feeling felt ﬁlled ﬁnd ﬁnished ﬁrst ﬁt forget friends gave girl glance God’s going greeted hand happy hashish head heard heart honey-colored eyes hope idea Kamal Khalil Khan al-Khalili kind laugh looked Mahfouz managed Marsa Matruh mind morning mother moved Naguib Mahfouz Nawal never night novel once pain parents quarter Qur’an Ramadan realized Rushdi Saad Zaghlul sanitorium Sayyid Arif scared smile someone stared started stay stood stopped street Sulayman talking Tawhida tell There’s things thought told took truth turned voice waiting walked What’s window wondered worried you’re young younger brother Zahra Cafe