Mahfouz, Chabon and new books

I’m shooting to have the review up by mid-week for Autumn Quail and am working on a series recap to come shortly afterward that compares the three novellas. Mahfouz was a tremendous writer and keenly aware of the lifeblood of Cairo’s every corner. He was Egypt’s Tolstoy. He did win the Nobel prize for literature.

My introduction to Mahfouz was through his Cairo trilogy a few years ago. The way he wrote about the British occupation and then of Egyptian independence through one merchant-class family showed all the glamour, richness, decrepitude, sadness; showed all…everything…that was alive in Cairo through the first half of the twentieth century. He gave this same attention to his writings of the ’52 revolution that I am now reviewing.


♠ Also reading…

I’m halfway through Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I’d been meaning to get to his work for a while and started in on this one per the recommendation of books n’at.

I might also pick up Julius Caesar once I finish Mahfouz – we’re near the storied Ides of March after all, and I haven’t read Shakespeare in years – but a couple of other books are also pulling me into their orbits. Read on.


♠ A few new books:


Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Reginald Rose Twelve Angry Men
Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son
Paul Auster, 4321

These authors will all be new to me (though I am tangentially familiar with Rose; I watched the Henry Fonda movie adaptation of this particular play).  And I actually did already purchase Auster’s New York trilogy only I haven’t yet read it.

Orhan Pamuk…Turkey is still a mystery to me as a country of not-quite-Asia, not-quite-Europe, not-quite-Middle East. I didn’t know which of Pamuk’s works to start with because each of his novels sound compelling and each one had such good prose inside of it. Snow promises a story of journalism, religion, poetry, politics and everyday Turkey. And a love interest. Its breadth was what made me take it home.

4321 might be the most attractive to me right now. Its premise? The four simultaneous, parallel and divergent growings-up of one child.  Paging through this hardback at Barnes & Noble, the opening paragraphs are a similar blend of serious and humorous that I’ve come to adore in Kavalier and Clay, and the story…it just reeks of that kind of magic for which I love Salman Rushdie!


Looks like I’m leaning toward Pamuk or Auster next, along with a detour into Julius Caesar (a re-read).

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