Dusty's Reviews > The Dreams

The Dreams by Naguib Mahfouz
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's review
Sep 16, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2009
Recommended to Dusty by: Anchor Books
Read in November, 2009

I've read a few books of "vignettes" before -- but never one comprised solely of a couple hundred of an author's dreams. Naguib Mahfouz, in case you're not familiar with him, is Egypt's lone winner of the Nobel in literature and is known as much for his writing as for the assassination attempt by militant Islamists that left him crippled in the early 1990s. He died just a few years ago, in 2006, and The Dreams is his last work. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, Anchor, who wanted me to review it over at BlogCritics. That review, which is longer, should be up soon.

Anyway. The book wasn't an easy read despite the relative brevity of many of Mahfouz's dreams. Some of them last a few pages, but many are only a few paragraphs, some only a few sentences. They're a lot like poetry -- lots of symbolism and such, in a very compact space. But it was a good read, though only now am I beginning to appreciate how much I learned about Egypt, Islam and general human nature from this one man's dreams. The only books I've read from the Arabic "literary tradition" are Season of Migration to the North (not my fave) and parts of the Thousand and One Nights, and I'm glad to be broadening my horizons.

I have another Mahfouz book on my shelf, a novel, also a review-in-waiting, and I'm excited already to give it a shot.
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11/20/2009 page 9
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