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 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 sounded 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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