"I was trying to explore what I've been calling 'Mahfouz's Sufi Noir,' to see how and why he was drawn to both crime-writing and Sufi storytelling and the same time. When I read 'Culprit Unknown,' I couldn't believe how much it was like a detective story—and that it hadn't been translated yet!"
"We can’t know what Mahfouz intended to do with the fictions collected into 'The Quarter'. He might have considered them complete and ready for publication, or they might have been the seeds of a new novel."
The Egyptian Ministry of Culture "defeated many challenges to complete all the works and equipment of Naguib Mahfouz Museum, stressing that what has been accomplished is a pride for all Egyptians and it reflects the country's concern to preserve the historical vocabulary that formed its soft power."
"Yes, he was king, and this room was the capital of his kingdom, and the roof was the rest of this great country."
In later years, he said that he had lost the manuscript due to a "family robbery," when a relative pilfered papers from his old house and sold them off.
"It’s all so damn tantalizing, you know?"
Saqi Books announced today that they will publish the as-yet-untitled collection, in Roger Allen's translation, in autumn 2019.
They are set to come out on December 11, Mahfouz's birthday, which also falls during the 2018 Beirut Arab Book Fair. Dar al-Saqi will publish the collection under the title chosen by Mahfouz's daughter, "همس النجوم" (The Whisper of Stars).
"The tarboush as male headgear is now an historical relic. But what about its symbolic force of national and patriarchal privilege? The artist makes us ponder whether this privilege has gone with the tarboush itself as he ushers us into disquieting yet intriguing spaces. Disruptions and continuities haunt the pinpricks of his Qarboush."
The prize he helped fund, and which is named for him, is now in its twenty-second year, and will be announced later today.
"While Mahfouz’s opinions are often considered to be obscured in his fiction writing, here we gain an extraordinarily clear insight into his personal views – views which helped shape his novels."
Most recently -- less than a month ago, in late November -- Mahfouz made news when crank MP Abul Maaty Mustafa said, at a parliamentary debate, that "Naguib Mahfouz deserves punishment" for "violating public decency."