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Five masterly stories by the young Naguib Mahfouz, all inspired by the Egypt of the pharaohs. The forces of law and order disturb a district's too-perfect peace at the dawn of Egyptian civilization. A wise and popular pharaoh is betrayed by his own son, and by his dearest friends—then makes a most peculiar decision. A mummy returns to life after three thousand years to confront the arrogant new race that now rules the land. A favored prince flees to a faraway country when then king suddenly dies, leaving his true love behind—only to come back to question her about their forty lost years. A famous young writer, composer of a legendary epic of Pharaoh's greatest battle with the Hittites, is carried off without warning by a mysterious disease, then speaks to us in this life from beyond the veil of death.
These stories reveal Mahfouz's wide reading of Egypt's (and the world's) oldest history and literature. All of these gems, however, are very much his own creations. Their voices speak with the familiar genius of Egypt's greatest modern writer—though they call from a very different world than the one for which he is best known.
“Mahfouz's work is freshly nuanced and hauntingly lyrical. The Nobel Prize acknowledges the universal significance of his fiction.” —Los Angeles Times
“The incredible variety of Mahfouz's writings continues to dazzle our eyes.” —The Washington Post
“Mahfouz's characters blaze with intensity, his Egypt pulsates with unresolved tensions.” —The Atlanta Constitution