– Edward Said
‘One of the greatest creative talents in the realm of the novel in the world.’
– Nadine Gordimer
‘He is not only a Hugo and a Dickens, but also a Galsworthy, a Mann, a Zola, and a Jules Romain.’
– London Review of Books
‘Mahfouz embodied the essence of what makes the bruising, raucous, chaotic
human anthill of Cairo possible.’
– The Economist
When Mahfouz retired from his job as a civil servant in 1971 he took up an appointment as a member of the editorial staff at Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper. Many of his novels were serialised in Al-Ahram; less well known, however, are the essays he also published through the newspaper. This fascinating volume brings together Mafouz’s non-fiction writings penned during the era of Sadat, whose presidency comprised some of the most dramatic events in Egyptian history: from Sadat’s “Corrective Revolution” to the Yom Kippur War with Israel and the eventual peace accord between the two countries, as well as his eventual assassination by Islamic extremists in 1981. In this collection Mahfouz deals with diverse political topics, such as socio-economic class, democracy and dictatorship, Islam and extremism – topics which still seem highly pertinent in relation to the situation in Egypt today. While Mahfouz’s opinions are often considered to be obscured in his fiction writing, here we gain an extraordinarily clear insight into his personal views – views which helped shape his novels. Essays of the Sadat Era is the second of four volumes that will see Mahfouz’s non-fiction work translated into English for the first time.
Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was the most important Arabic writer of his generation. He is the author of over thirty novels, including The Cairo Trilogy and Children of the Alley. In 1988 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.