Morning and Evening Talk A Modern Arabic Novel

by Naguib Mahfouz

Morning and Evening Talk A Modern Arabic Novel Synopsis

Morning and Evening Talk is an epic tale of Egyptian life over five generations. Set in Cairo, it traces the fortunes of three families from the arrival of Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century to the 1980s. As the intricate family saga unfolds, a powerful picture of a society in transition emerges. This is a tale of change and continuity, of the death of a traditional way of life, of the road to independence and beyond, seen through the eyes of Egypt's citizens.

Morning and Evening Talk A Modern Arabic Novel Press Reviews

'In Morning and Evening Talk, his last novel, he sets the bar high, refusing all the classical unities. Instead of rooting his story in one place, he flits between Cairo and the countryside. Instead of following a chronology, he races back and forth along a 200-year timeline. And instead of one story, he offers us 67. Each takes the form of an informal obituary - a life as it might be described by a wise neighbour. Together they describe the fortunes of three families joined by friendship, feuds and marriage.' The Financial Times 20080119 'This beautifully translated collection by the late Nobel Laureate uses the quotidian activities of Egyptian life to explore meaning and an individual's destiny. Fitting for wherever world literature is appreciated.' The Library Journal 20081202 '...a remarkable book.' The Complete Review 'When he won the Nobel prize in 1988, Mahfouz was praised for creating an Arabian narrative art that applied to all mankind . Because he was the first winner from the Arab world, the emphasis was on his nationality. But what really set him apart was his narrative artistry... In Morning and Evening Talk, his last novel, he sets the bar high, refusing all the classical unities. Instead of rooting his story in one place, he flits between Cairo and the countryside. Instead of following a chronology, he races back and forth along a 200-year timeline. And instead of one story, he offers us 67. Each takes the form of an informal obituary - a life as it might be described by a wise neighbour. Together they describe the fortunes of three families joined by friendship, feuds and marriage.' The Financial Times 20080119 'By 1987, when 'Morning and Evening Talk' was first published in Egypt, Mahfouz was already an old master, looking for new ways to impose his totalizing imagination on the whole of Egypt's long history... It was for this comprehensiveness that Edward Said compared Mahfouz to Dante, who so ambitiously encompassed earthly history within supernatural models. 'Morning and Evening Talk' is a more down-to-earth, secular book than 'The Divine Comedy,' but it is based on an ancient, encyclopedic model.' The Sun 20080130 'Like an acrostic, you could spend hours piecing the characters together into their appropriate historical eras and constructing their family trees, to see if this provides illumination. Or you could flip back and forth, cross-referencing illusions. But I think I prefer it from first to finish. Approached in this fashion - the banal and brilliant, birth and death, history and politics tossed together higgledy-piggledy - it reads, ironically, just like life.' California Literary Review 20080122 'This beautifully translated collection by the late Nobel Laureate uses the quotidian activities of Egyptian life to explore meaning and an individual's destiny. Fitting for wherever world literature is appreciated.' The Library Journal 20081202

Book Information

ISBN: 9789774160998
Publication date: 15th January 2008
Author: Naguib Mahfouz
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 208 pages
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About 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. Christina Phillips has a PhD in modern Arabic Literature and works in the Qur'anic Studies Department at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.

More About Naguib Mahfouz

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