: Respected sir/wedding song/the search: wedding song ; the search (9780385498364) : Naguib Mahfouz : Books
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Respected Sir/wedding Song/the Search: Wedding Song ; The Search

by Naguib Mahfouz
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Anchor
  • Publishing date: 04/12/2001
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780385498364
  • ISBN: 0385498365


A new volume of three novels–previously published separately by Anchor–by Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Together with The Beggar, The Thief and The Dogs, and Autumn Quail (published by Anchor in December 2000), these novels represent a comprehensive collection of Mahfouz’s artful meditations on post-revolution Egypt. Diverse in style and narrative technique, they render a nuanced and universally resonant vision of modern life in the Middle East.

Respected Sir, “a latter-day Bleak House in Arabic” (The New York Times), revisits a familiar theme–vaulting ambition–in a powerful and religious metaphor. Wedding Song, “one of Mahfouz’s most enjoyable works” (The Chicago Tribune), is a psychological drama, focusing on how four very different kinds of minds apprehend and reckon with the realities that surround them. The Search is a powerful, lurid, and compelling story of lust, greed, and murder.

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  • Three Egyptian tales
    From Amazon

    In Respected Sir we get to know the son of a cart driver in Cairo, Othman Bayyumi. He starts working as a clerk at the eighth grade in the government and ends up at the splendid position of His Excellency the Director General. Though Othman shows great will and great ambition and thus has a successful career he remains a lonely man till the end of his life. Mr Mahfouz shows that a certain cold-heartedness is necessary for a man to be respected for his piety, diligence and rectitude and the price to pay for such a way is solitude.
    Wedding Song is the sad tale of Abbas Karam Younis, actor and later playwright, who within a few months disowns his disgraced parents, marries Tahia and has a son called Taher. Then Abbas decides to write his play called Afrah al-Qubbah using his imagination to create a protagonist through which he can confess and do penance. He thus uses art as a means of battle and rebellion against people born and bread in sin. The structure of the plot is original: the same events are told in 4 chapters by 4 different characters - Tariq Ramun, a fellow actor working at the same theatre as Abbas, Karam Younis, Abbas's father, Halima al-Kabsh, Abbas's mother and finally Abbass's own account.
    In The Search Saber's mother Basima Omran is an ageing prostitute who has just spent five years in prison in Alexandria. Saber has never seen his father yet he knows his name which is printed on his birth certificate: Sayed el-Rheimy. After his mother's death, Saber decides to try to find his father in Cairo. During his long search Saber realises that it is his fate to follow his mother's footsteps and soon deceit and crime tarnish his life.

  • Hidden Jewel
    From Amazon

    Mahfouz is one of the greatest contemporary writers we have overlooked. An anecdote I want to share. I was diligently browsing through the literature/fiction section at a local bookstore and looking for Mahfouz. Disappointed. Looked in the world literature section and again disappointed. No luck in the translated literature section either. Why would a representative Egyptian writer be such inadvertently left out? I spoke to the info desk about Mahfouz and magically, a whole section that featured Mahfouz and his works were set up a few days later!

    Respected Sir/Wedding Song/The Search came out just before the winter break. The new edition consists of three novels by Mahfouz that demonstrate unique writing style. I was quickly drawn into the book after flipping over ten pages or so. Mahfouz writes very succinctly and elegantly. His plots usually begin with a very usual setting. But there is also an element of suspense. You will keep on reading not because you know something is going to happen, but becuase things combine to hold you fast.

    Respected Sir talks about how a government clerk sacrifices all comfort and breaks all family ties to ascend in rank. His eternal goal is that he will become the Director of Administration (Level 1) in the government. The narrative authenticates how we desire for power and attain such power against all odds.

    Wedding Song involves a whole different writing style. The story features a montage, re-telling of the same story in the persepctives of 4 characters. Psychologucal suspense dominates the mood of the piece as, the main characters, twist back and forth between virtuality and reality. You will unveil the "true story" that was masked and concealed by what the characters perceive the story to be.

    The Search tells of the story of a criminal searching for his long-lost father. The sexual desire, the filler of loneliness, and fear interweaves with his longing for his father. Mahfouz has wriiten three brilliant pieces that delineates human emotions. Hidden jewel in modern/contemporary literature.

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