It has been a while I havent come up with a new recommandation of book as well as a new blog post. Cairo Modern is a book written by the Eyptian Author Naguib Mahfouz, won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature and regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature to explore themes of existentialism. It is first book written by this author I have ever read. It was a book selected by a booklover from our whatsapp group. When the friend first came with this proposal of reading, it made me chuckle and also demoralized me as a consequence of being an unkown author but while reading it, it gave me some goosebumps , thrilled and impressed me very deeply...
Before giving some details as to the book, i have to say that, there are some impacts of Flaubert,Balzac, Zola, Camus, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Proust considering that he reads eloborative readings and reviews of books written by those authors. The one of most significant features of the books of the writer is that "the time" is an immovable and unchangeable theme and it is a subject constantly preoccupying the minds of the characters. In accordance with the works written by the author, the "time" generally is the worst comprade and companion and this grim reality is always reflected to the books.
To put it into simple terms, Cairo Modern is, ironic an satirical book. As the author creates a morality tale in which life's most basic guiding principles are still undetermined. The novel opens, four college students, all due to graduate that year, are arguing moral principles, one planning to live his life according to "the principles that God Almighty has decreed," while others argue in favor of science as the new religion, materialism, social liberation, and even love as guiding principles. None of the students have any respect for their government, which they see as "rich folks and major families."
Among the students, Mahgub Abd al-Da'im is the poorest, and he must literally starve himself in order to finish the school year, becoming more and emaciated as time passes. Finding a job upon graduation is a matter of his whole family's survival. When Mahgub contacts a former neighbor, Salim Al-Ikhshidi, for help, Al-Ikhshidi, in consultation with governmental higher-ups, presents a plan for Mahgub, who is in no position to be selective. If Mahgub will agree to marry the lover of a high-ranked government official and become part of a ménage a trois, all his expenses will be paid and a job will be guaranteed in the ministry where Al-Ikhshidi himself works. Desperately, Mahgub agrees, intending to "find satisfaction in a marriage that was a means, rather than an end." On his wedding day, he meets the bride--the former girlfriend of one of his closest friends, a girl his friend still loves.
Mahgub's marriage is filled with the expected complications as he tries to hide his poverty-stricken past and his betrayal of his college friend, at the same time that he is rising in the government, associating with wealthy and influential friends, and becoming arrogant, all sources of satire by Mahfouz. Mahgub and his wife become a perfect couple--"Each of us has sold himself in exchange for status and money."
The author criticizes the society of its country, the system of public administration , politics and so on. It is an amazin book to read and in lights of author's observations, you ll see how a country is and perhaps you can resemble it to your own society in which people kiss some asses to get a position.