Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street

Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street


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Naguib Mahfouz’s magnificent epic trilogy of colonial Egypt appears here in one volume for the first time. The Nobel Prize—winning writer’s masterwork is the engrossing story of a Muslim family in Cairo during Britain’s occupation of Egypt in the early decades of the twentieth century.


The novels of The Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence. Palace Walk introduces us to his gentle, oppressed wife, Amina, his cloistered daughters, Aisha and Khadija, and his three sons–the tragic and idealistic Fahmy, the dissolute hedonist Yasin, and the soul-searching intellectual Kamal. Al-Sayyid Ahmad’s rebellious children struggle to move beyond his domination in Palace of Desire, as the world around them opens to the currents of modernity and political and domestic turmoil brought by the 1920s. Sugar Street brings Mahfouz’s vivid tapestry of an evolving Egypt to a dramatic climax as the aging patriarch sees one grandson become a Communist, one a Muslim fundamentalist, and one the lover of a powerful politician.


Throughout the trilogy, the family’s trials mirror those of their turbulent country during the years spanning the two World Wars, as change comes to a society that has resisted it for centuries. Filled with compelling drama, earthy humor, and remarkable insight, The Cairo Trilogy is the achievement of a master storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375413315
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/2001
Pages: 1368
Sales rank: 196,270
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.28(h) x 2.38(d)

About the Author

Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. His nearly forty novels and hundreds of short stories range from re-imaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was the first writer in Arabic to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in August 2006.

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Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read all three books of the trilogy several years ago. I loved getting immersed in a (to me) strange and foreign culture. I was fascinated by it all. It made me want to visit Cairo and walk the streets described in these books, although I have not yet done so (and, knowing me, probably never will.)
richard_carpenter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a magnificent and wide-ranging work, covering decades of Egyptian history - I suspect my enjoyment was lessened by a lack of knowledge of the political history. But the beautifully drawn portraits of the family members and their circles more than make up for this, and the succession of births, marriages, affairs and deaths is often deeply moving.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story to savor and Mahfouz, who was born in Cairo in 1911, begins it slowly introducing each character through their individual actions and thoughts so the reader gradually becomes acquainted with the family of Ahmad Abd al-Jawad. It is almost two hundred pages into the novel when, suddenly, there is an explosion of sorts as the plot "thickens" as has often been said. Luxuriating in the life of this family, learning the culture and the particular eccentricities of its patriarch, this reader is finding Mahfouz a subtle creator and novelist in the tradition of Dickens, Mann and Tolstoy. The life of the al-Jawad family with mother Amina, her daughters, sons and stepson, becomes a living force as the personalities emerge from the pages of the novel. Behind it all is the great city of Cairo. I am looking forward to the events to come as I continue reading this fascinating trilogy.
Doondeck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Palace Walk: Wonderful story of an unusual family. Fascinating insights into Islamic culture in Egypt in 1917.
PrairieSage More than 1 year ago
True literature fans will fully appreciate the stories involved, character development, and philosophical points of this fine author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.
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