Arabic Literature
English edition  
Nov  2007
220 pp.
Hardbound
15X23 cm
$19.95
LE100
ISBN 9789774160998
For sale worldwide

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Morning and Evening Talk

Naguib Mahfouz
Translated by Christina Phillips

Naguib Mahfouz’s last chronicle of Cairo life

A late work by the Egyptian Nobel literature laureate, Morning and Evening Talk is an epic tale of Egyptian life over five generations. Set in Cairo, it traces the fortunes of three families from the arrival of Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century to the 1980s, using short character sketches arranged in alphabetical order. This highly experimental device produces a kind of biographical dictionary, whose individual entries come together to paint a vivid portrait of life in Cairo from a range of different perspectives. The characters include representatives of every class and human type, and as the intricate family saga unfolds, a powerful picture of a society in transition—and the accompanying upheaval—emerges. This is a tale of change and continuity, of the death of a traditional way of life, of the road to independence and beyond, seen through the eyes of Egypt’s citizens. Naguib Mahfouz’s last chronicle of Cairo is an elegy to a bygone era and a tribute to the Egyptian spirit. It is also one of his most technically innovative contributions to the Arabic novel.
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Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was born in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He wrote nearly 40 novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous screenplays. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Christina Phillips has a PhD in modern Arabic literature. She lives in London and is currently pursuing postdoctoral research in modern Arabic narrative and poetry.

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"A remarkable overview of two centuries of life in Egypt."—The Complete Review

"Morning and Evening Talk offers a unique argument for the Arabic novel. It treats a great deal of traditional novelistic information in the raw, applying old Arabic forms in an innovative, experimental way."—Benjamin Lytal, New York The Sun

"This beautifully translated collection by the late Nobel laureate uses the quotidian activities of Egyptian life to explore meaning and an individual’s destiny. Fitting for wherever world literature is appreciated."—Dora Wagner, Xpress Reviews

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