From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Mallee: An often hilarious look into the life and times of an Egyptian family in the 50s.
"The country is in revolt every day. Every hour there are casualties and martyrs."
Volume one of the Cairo Trilogy, which is likely the most well-known series of Egyptian novels of the 20th century. Naguib Mahfouz was deeply influenced by French writers, especially Proust, won the Nobel Prize in 1988, and died in 2006 at the ripe age of 94. Set in Cairo during and after World War I, this is a family saga exploring tensions that still are part of Egyptian society (Muslim v. secular, tyranny v. freedom, spirit v. flesh) and culture. Written in 1956, but not translated into English until 1990. Followed by "Palace of Desire."
I entered the hearts and minds and saw through the eyes of each family member and it was not as I might have imagined or wanted it to be....clear view of Muslim religion and culture from within a family....universal ways of being in the world: men's sexual desires, women desiring children and stability, young men wanting a cause to fight for, power seeking and war making....
I read this book several years ago, but it still sticks in my head. The author does an exceptional job of getting into the head of the characters, especially the wife/mother. As a North American Christian woman, I often find it difficult to understand how Muslim women tolerate the restrictions put upon them in some countries. I found this book opened my eyes about the thought processes that some of these women have in their day to day lives.
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