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The Mirage (Modern Arabic Novels)

A psychological study of the first order with a subtly Freudian flavour, The Mirage is the autobiographical account of Kamil Ruâ ba, a tortured soul who finds himself struggling unduly to cope with life's challenges. The internal torment and angst that dog him throughout his life and the tragic, ironic turns of events that overtake him as a young man are, to a great extent, the outworkings of his faulty upbringing. At the same time, they work together to drive home the novel's underlying theme: the illusory, undependable nature of the world in which we live and the call to seek, beyond the outward and the ephemeral, that which is inward and enduring. The narrative, full of pathos, draws the reader unwittingly into a vicarious experience of Kamil's agonies and ecstasies. As such, it is a specimen of Mahfouz's prose at its finest.

Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911 in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He wrote nearly 40 novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous screenplays. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1988. He died in Cairo on August 30, 2006 at the age of 94.

Reviews:

'Mahfouz’s use of a conversational style...his narrative charm, and his easy-going humor about growing up keep the reader completely engaged.' - Mary Whipple Seeing the World Through Books 20090821

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