Selected and translated by the distinguished scholar Denys Johnson-Daivies, these stories have all the celebrated and distinctive characters and qualities found in Mahfouz's novels: The denizens of the dark, narrow alleyways of Cairo, who struggle to survive the poverty; melancholy ruminations on death; experiments with the supernatural; and witty excursions into Cairene middle-class life."
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. His nearly forty novels and hundreds of short stories range from re-imaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was the first writer in Arabic to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in August 2006.