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52. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz

A sweeping and evocative portrait of an Egyptian family at a time of great social change, from Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz.

The novel follows one family over the course of the years 1917–19, a time of great change in Egypt that culminated in the overthrow of the British Protectorate. We meet al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, the tyrannical head of the household, his devoted wife Amina, their three sons Yasin, Fahmy and Kamal and two daughters Khadija and Aisha. With the exception of Kamal, who is still young, the children are on the cusp of adulthood and each has complex hopes and dreams. For the daughters marriage is their only way out of the household. The sons have more independence but still remain in thrall to their dominating father. Little does the family know that their stern father is leading a double life. Meanwhile tensions between ordinary Egyptians and the British soldiers are running high.

Mahfouz’s writing has been compared to Tolstoy, Flaubert and Proust, but what did Laura’s book club make of it? Listen in to find out, plus lots of great recommendations to help you find your next book club read.

Books mentioned on this episode:


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