Month: August 2006

Mahfouz Appreciation

I was asked to write a piece for the Nation magazine about the passing of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz. Here’s the first paragraph:

The story of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz is the story of modern Egypt itself. Born in 1911 in the Gamaliya district of Cairo, Mahfouz witnessed the last days of British colonial rule and Ottoman influence, the nationalist struggle of Saad Zaghloul, the reigns of King Fuad and King Farouq, the military coup of 1952, the establishment of the republic, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s takeover in 1954, the Suez Canal crisis, the rule of Anwar al-Sadat, the Camp David accords of 1978 and finally the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

You can read it all here.

Thursday Giveaway: Lisa Teasley’s Heat Signature

This week, I’m giving away a copy of Los Angeles-based novelist Lisa Teasley’s new book Heat Signature. Heat charts the emotional journey of loss, as a young man tries to cope with the murder of his mother, which occurred sixteen years ago. The book has already received great reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times.

The first person to send me an email with the subject “Heat” gets the book. Also be sure to include your mailing address.

Update: The winner is Cigdem A. from Toronto.

Season of Migration

I need a copy of Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, in the original Arabic, for a piece I’m thinking of writing. If you have an extra copy that you’re willing to part with, could you email me? I would be happy to trade several books for it.

Naguib Mahfouz: 1911-2006

Egyptian novelist and Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz passed away today in Cairo. Although the news is not a shock–he had been seriously ill for a few weeks–it is still difficult to accept. I find myself thinking about the first time I read him, when I was twelve or thirteen. Our high school didn’t have a library, so our Arabic teachers organized a “borrowing club”–each of us would bring a book at the beginning of the trimester, and the books thus collected formed the class’s pool, from which we could choose what to read every other week. That’s how I came to Naguib Mahfouz’s Miramar, and, later, to his other novels and stories. I will have more to say about him and his significance to Arabic letters very soon. Stay tuned.


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