Summer Reading Challenge Review: Miramar, by Naguib Mahfouz

I just noticed that, over at By the Firelight, Paul Doyle has posted a review of his summer reading challenge selection, Naguib Mahfouz’s Miramar. (Miramar was a selection both by professor/translator Shakir Mustafa and writer/book editor/translator R. Neil Hewison.)

It’s been a while since I’ve read Miramar, so I’m grateful for the ways in which this jump-starts my brain. Doyle’s review begins:

Nagib Mahfouz’s comparably brief novel, Miramar, captures a moment of great change in the history of Egypt through the lives of the inhabitants of a the pension Miramar. Although politics are ever present in the background, the novel focuses on the way the lives of the inhabitants of the pension have been changed by the Nasarite revolution of the late 50s. Mahfouz, the great story teller he his, uses the personal disappointments brought on by the revolution to draw a picture of a country trying to radically change, yet tied to the past and unable to change many of its ways despite official policies. His subtle focus on the relationships between the characters of the pension, drawing out the conflicts between the shifting class of people, lifts the book above politics and draws a fascinating picture of classes rising and falling. (Keep reading.)