Naguib Mahfouz
English edition  
April  2013
116 pp.
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$14.95
LE80
ISBN 9789774166037
For sale only in the Middle East

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Karnak Café

Naguib Mahfouz
Translated by Roger Allen

A new paperback edition of the politically charged novel from Egypt’s Nobel laureate

At a Cairo café, a cross-section of Egyptian society, young and old, rich and poor, are drawn together by the quality of its coffee and the allure of its owner, legendary former dancer Qurunfula. When three of the young patrons disappear for prolonged periods, the older customers display varying reactions to the news. On their return, they recount horrific stories of arrest and torture at the hands of the secret police, and the habitués of the café begin to withdraw from each other in fear, suspecting that there is an informer among them. With the nighttime arrests and the devastation of the country’s defeat in the 1967 War, the café is transformed from a haven of camaraderie and bright-eyed idealism to an atmosphere charged with mounting suspicion, betrayal, and crushing disillusionment. Exposing the dark underbelly of ideology, and delving into the idea of the ‘necessary evils’ of social upheaval, Karnak Café remains one of the Nobel laureate’s most pointedly critical works, as relevant and incisive today as it was when it was first published in 1974.
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Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was born in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He wrote nearly 40 novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous screenplays. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Roger Allen is emeritus professor of Arabic languages and literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his translations are Naguib Mahfouz’s Khan al-Khalili and The Final Hour (AUC Press, 2008 and 2010). He received the 2012 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Bensalem Himmich’s A Muslim Suicide.

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“Mahfouz is the Nobel laureate and this short story, divided into chapters corresponding with the various characters’ narratives of the same events, is up to the author’s reputation. The story is about four young people who meet regularly at the café until they are taken for interrogation. How they, and the café, are impacted is the denouement.”—The Global Ministries <br><br>

“Dynamic, powerful, and thought-provoking, this novella carries a punch—and modern relevance—that the reader will not soon forget.”—MostlyFiction.com<br><br>

“Offers a brilliant introduction to the literary qualities for which Mahfouz is so well known: enthralling dialogue, a deep understanding of Egypt’s social and political problems and a remarkable insight into man’s ideals and shortcomings.”—Arab News<br><br>

“To read Karnak Café now is to crack open the core of any given conflict in the region, where dreams and disappointments have congealed like vile toxic goop.”—The Daily Star

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