Publication Date: July 14, 2009
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In his final years, Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz distilled his storyteller's art to its most essential level. Written with the compression and power of dreams, these poetic vignettes, originally collected in two books, "The Dreams" and "Dreams of Departure," here combined in one volume for the first time.
These stories telescope epic tales into tersely haunting miniatures. A man finds his neighborhood has turned into a circus, but his joy turns to anger when he cannot escape it. An obscure writer finally achieves fame-through the epitaph on his grave. A group of friends telling jokes in an alley face the murderous revenge of an ancient Egyptian queen. Figures from Mahfouz's past-women he loved, men who inspired him, even fictional characters from his own novels-float through tales dreamed by a mind too fertile ever to rest, even in sleep.
Translated by Raymond Stock.
RAYMOND STOCK, with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania, is writing a biography of Naguib Mahfouz. He is the translator of numerous works by Mahfouz, most recently Dreams of Departure (AUC Press, 2007).
“Cryptic, haunting, and brief. . . . Frequently the narrator begins in delight and wonder . . . and ends in terror, doubt, and confusion.” —The New Yorker“Mahfouz [gives us] a sense of immersion in a mind at the edge of life, a mind returning to its elemental instincts. . . . Mahfouz maintains an unruffled, even humorous voice in the face of these volatile dreamscapes. . . . A fine, surreal filter through which to divine all the elements at play in contemporary Egyptian society.” —The Seattle Times
The late Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz spent six years toward the end of his life publishing vignettes based on his dreams. Now collected in a new paperback, The Dreams, these several hundred dreams are a surprise. Mahfouz packs each of these pieces with resonant details, and plays with opposites in time and location before rapidly moving to a poignant but questioning denouement. More at NPR.org
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