Echoes of an autobiography

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Random House Incorporated, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 118 pages
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From the Foreword by Nadine Gordimer: "These pieces are meditations which echo that which was, has been, and is the writer Mahfouz. They are--in the words of the title of one of the prose pieces--'The Dialogue of the Late Afternoon' of his life. I don't believe any autobiography, with its inevitable implication of self-presentation, could have matched what we have here."

Reminiscent of such works as Pascal's "Pensees, " this collection of short and pithy passages is not merely a narration of incidents in Mahfouz's life. Rather, it is a very personal and reflective commentary on situations and events that have lodged themselves in his memory and influenced him in some way. A surprising and delightful departure from his bestselling and much-loved fiction, this unusual and thoughtful book is breathtaking evidence of the fact that Naguib Mahfouz is not only "a storyteller of the first order in any idiom" ( "Vanity Fair" ), but also a profound thinker of the first order.

With more than 500,000 copies of his book in print, Naguib Mahfouz has established a following of readers for whom "Echoes of an Autobiography" provides the unique opportunity to catch an intimate glimpse into the life and mind of this magnificent storyteller. Here Mahfouz considers, with characteristic wry good humor, the myriad perplexities of existence, including his preoccupations with old age, death and life's transitory nature. Readers familiar with his novels and short stories will recognize these passages as well as many others as an "echo" of the themes that run through his writings.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Americans accustomed to the histrionic self-display of celebrity memoirs and the self-involved, studied impressionism of writers' self-portraits are likely to find Nobel laureate Mahfouz's fragmentary ... Read full review

Echoes of an autobiography

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"Do you deny that you had your share of the warmth of the world and its fragrance?" one interloper asks the elderly, often weary narrator in one of the series of allegorical reflections that frame the ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

DENYS JOHNSON-DAVIES has produced more than thirty volumes of translation of modern Arabic literature, including The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim (AUC Press, 2008) and The Essential Yusuf Idris (AUC Press, 2009). He received the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2007 for Personality of the Year in the Field of Culture.

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