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Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz draws on his homeland’s rich engagement with the afterlife–and his own near-death experience at the hands of a would-be assassin–in these newly translated, brilliantly mysterious stories of the supernatural.
Among those who haunt these tales are the ghosts of Akhenaten, Woodrow Wilson, and Gamal Abd al-Nasser, who endure a strange system of earthly probation in the hope of gaining entry to the fabled Seventh Heaven; a teenager drawn into the secret, enchanted life he finds within his neighborhood’s forbidden wood; an honest perfume seller accosted on a night out by angry skeletons; and Satan himself, who confesses that there is still, despite the flood of evil in our times, an honorable man in the land. As ingenious at capturing the surreal as he is at documenting the very real social landscape of modern Cairo, Mahfouz guides these restless spirits as they migrate from the shadowy realms of other worlds to the haunted precincts of our own.