Margaret Obank reviews

Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt’s Nobel Laureate

by Rasheed El-Enany

Life× series, Haus Publishing, UK

ISBN 978-1-905791-19-4, pbk, 192pp, £9.99

A little treasure

Exactly the right size. Beautiful to look at – as well as to hold. Easy to read. Illustrated, annotated, indexed. And then, a well-laid out and informative chronology, a list of all Mahfouz’s works . . . and a handy compilation of further reading. All this in less than 200 pages.

Haus Publishing and Rasheed El-Enany must be congratulated on this handsome volume, the first biography of the Arab world’s Nobel Laureate for Literature since his death at the age of 94 on 30 August 2006. So much care and thought has gone into making this book a work to treasure, to keep for a very long time. Unusually, but adding to the immense charm of the book, the running feet and chapter headings are printed in red, and from time to time, by the outside margins of the texts, are quotations by Mahfouz, also picked out in red.

El-Enany, Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and an expert on Mahfouz’s work, presents perfectly the contexts of Mahfouz’s life and varied works, encouraging the reader on a great journey into the heart of Mahfouz’s fascinating imagination.

From Banipal 31 - Spring 2008

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