MIDAQ ALLEY by Naguib Mahfouz
The Book:

First published in 1947 in Arabic, Midaq Alley is about the Egyptian residents of a hustling, teeming back alley in Cairo in the 1940's.  The attempts of several residents to escape the alley and move up in status end with dreams broken and unfulfilled, but the book captures a great slice of life in the Cairo of the first half of this century.

The Movie:

In 1994, Midaq Alley was adapted to screen by Mexican filmmaker Jorge Fons and won a Special Mention at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival. Transferred from 1940s Cairo to contemporary Mexico City, the action revolves around the parallel and often intertwined lives of a bar owner, a spinster, and the local beauty.  The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.

About Naguib Mahfouz, 1911-, 

Egyptian novelist and short-story writer. One of Egypt's major contemporary writers, he  was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize for literature.  He depicts urban life in such novels as Midaq Alley (1947), Palace of Desire (1957), The Search (1964), Miramar (1967), and the allegorical Children of Gebelawi (1969), which was banned in Egypt. Among his volumes of short stories is God's World (tr. 1973). In 1994 he was stabbed in an assassination attempt by an Islamic radical. 
from Encyclopedia.com

Read more about Naguib Mahfouz:

  • Naguib Mahfouz
  • MAHFOUZ, the Nobel lauriate  Egypt, Essay, 8/9/97
  • Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988 
  • October 13, 1988, Naguib Mahfouz
  • Books by Naguib Mahfouz
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