In Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz gives Arab literature a Dickensian portrait of a patriarch: 45-year-old Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd Al-Jawad, father and husband, despot and lecher, a man who demands strict adherence to the tenets of Islam inside his home, though he is indiscreet and unfaithful to a great many of them outside. The story chronicles the awakening of his family—including his wife Amina, who, by her husband’s command, has not left her house in 25 years, even to visit the mosque down the street; and two of his sons, one a patriot and the other a scholar, both against his wishes—against the backdrop of Egypt’s awakening. It is a story, too, of the shifting of society, religion, and roles in Egypt in the period leading up to the Egyptian Revolution of 1919.
Funded project of the Maine Humanities Council. The Maine Humanities Council is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.