The Harafish

Naguib Mahfouz
Translated byCatherine Cobham

In The Harafish Naguib Mahfouz returns to the style of sweeping narrative at which he proved himself a master. He chronicles the dramatic history of t

English edition
384 pp.
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774167102
For sale only in the Middle East

$18.95

In The Harafish Naguib Mahfouz returns to the style of sweeping narrative at which he proved himself a master. He chronicles the dramatic history of the Nagi family—a family that descends, over many generations, from the heights of power and prestige to the depths of decadence and decay. The epic story begins with the tale of Ashur al-Nagi, a man who grows from humble roots to become a great leader and a legend among his people. The name of Ashur epitomizes a time of glory for the harafish, or the common people, when they were led by one of their own. Generation after generation, however, Ashur’s descendants stray further from his legendary example. They lose touch with their origins as they amass and then lose large fortunes, marry prostitutes when they marry at all, and develop rivalries that end in death. Finally, a Nagi appears who restores the family name to its former distinction. The Harafish is a mythic tale, a compelling portrait of human weaknesses—pride, dishonesty, lust, and greed—and of the greatness of which we are capable when we overcome them.

Naguib Mahfouz

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. Kay Heikkinen holds a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, where she first became interested in Arabic history, language, and literature. She has taught medieval history and literature as well as Islamic civilization, and currently teaches Arabic at the University of Chicago.  
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