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Palace Walk

(The Cairo Trilogy #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  14,515 ratings  ·  1,501 reviews
Volume I of the masterful Cairo Trilogy. A national best-seller in both hardcover and paperback, it introduces the engrossing saga of a Muslim family in Cairo during Egypt's occupation by British forces in the early 1900s.
Paperback, 501 pages
Published 1990 by Anchor (first published 1956)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  14,515 ratings  ·  1,501 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
The story of a tyrannical father in Cairo at the time of World War I. He belongs to the ultraconservative Muslim Hanbali sect. His wife sits outside his bedroom door each morning waiting to be called in to help him dress. His four children, two girls, three boys, kiss his hand each morning. He keeps his boys in line by beating them on the soles of their feet. His children and his wife cannot ask him a question unless they first ask his permission to speak. They call him ‘sir,’ even his wife. And ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, bestest, africa
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz is a work of Tolstoyan proportions, drawing a picture of a place during a certain period through its portrayal of a large number of well-developed complex characters. Though mostly it is a story of a joint family, it expands into the political and socio-religious arena of its times. There is a lot more to this book than I will go into this review of its the first installment of the trilogy, Palace Walk.

The writing in the first few and last few chapters is simp
Selkie ✦ Queen
Two years ago, I spotted Palace Walk in a bookshelf and thought that this might be an interesting read because the last time I encountered a story that has something to do with Muslim culture was in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and that was it. Still, I always strive to expand my preferences and immerse myself on literature that is more culturally diverse than I'm more used to. In all honesty, I also selected to buy this particular book because of the Nobel Prize Awardee label attached to i ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: egypt
"The Palace Walk" by Naguib Mahfouz is, by far, the best work of fiction that I have read this year and is now one of my top ten favourite novels.

"The Palace Walk" is the first volume of “The Cairo Trilogy.” It centers on the life of an Egyptian Muslim family living through the period between the end of World War I and the beginning of the 1919 revolution against British rule, a time of dramatic change in Egypt.

The novel is an engrossing story of epic proportions. Each character is examined in
Richard Derus
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
About thirty years ago, I worked in the Production department of Delacorte Books for Young Readers. One of the many lovely side benefits of the job was the endless supply of books that floated around the place. I vacuumed the Cairo Trilogy up as it appeared in the halls, outside the doors of the various production managers.

The first of three books about deeply if mendaciously pious Al-Sayyid Ahmad's family, his abused and long-suffering wife Amina whose position as his favorite target of rage an
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988 was awarded to Naguib Mahfouz "who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind."

These words hold true here; they fit this novel well. Palace Walk is the first in a series of three entitled The Cairo Trilogy. It was published in 1956 but didn’t come out in English until 1990.

The story is about a Muslim Arab family living in Cairo. It opens in 1917, duri
Roman Clodia
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
She told him frankly that he was excessively conservative in his treatment of his family. It was abnormal.

When I started reading this I was immediately reminded of nineteenth century classics such as Middlemarch or Trollope's Palliser Novels, a story where 'the marriage plot' is supreme and where an extended family's dramas play out against a background of political change. But reading the introduction after I'd finished, I see that Mahfouz himself cites The Forsyte Saga as one of his influe
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, favorites, egypt
One of the best books I've read.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The way love can disregard fears, however, is an age-old wonder. No fear is able to spoil love's development or keep it from dreaming of its appointed hour.

Palace Walk is a sweeping realist survey of a middle class family in Cairo. The novel covers two years or so from 1917-19, culminating in the Egyptian Revolution which overthrew the British Protectorate. The Abd al-Jawad family is dominated by the father, an ostensibly pious man who forbids his wife and two daughters from being seen, much les
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a story of tyranny in the name of protection, showing us a political oppressor and a familial one. While the British exercise control over the Egyptians in Cairo, Al-Sayyid Ahmad does the same over his wife and children behind the walls of their home overlooking Palace Walk. We come to understand Ahmad and his family, and learn what may be behind the desire to control and the impacts that control can have.

Mahfouz uses beautiful, poetic language to tell this story of parallels. He is a ma
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"With my own eyes I saw his blood pouring out."

Mahfouz invokes the memories of Tolstoy, Hugo and Pamuk in the reader's mind, a truly powerful narrator with a keen insight into human heart and soul, be it an individual's heart or the nation's, Mahfouz is an outstanding writer. Loved the book!
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It’s the most read work for me. Which I do not feel bored with it at all, and how can it not be? It is great to my dear: Naguib Mahfouz.

In silence very quiet night, Egyptian woman stood up and the wait for her husband's views on the top corner of the street, stood in Mashrabia eager, and the listener is enjoying the sight of the street neighborhood spring, and which cuts between them and him are many reasons, no longer have only voyeurism between now and then.

Introduction similar to those line N
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Delicious story of a master storyteller, about a patriarch Ahmed and his family in Cairo, around and shortly after the first world war. The man lives a double life: at home very strict and even cruel, his children and his wife tremble for him, but outdoors he is amiable and he leads a dissolute life, with music, wine and women. But throughout the story some cracks appear in the man's reputation and it ends up dramatically.

This book seems to offer a beautiful introduction to the Arab culture, sp
Clif Hostetler
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Originally published in Arabic in 1956, this novel was written by Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the first book of the Cairo Trilogy that was translated into English in 1990.

The setting of the novel is Cairo during and just after World War I, 1917 to 1919. Most of the story focuses on the life of one family living on a street named "Palace Walk," and toward the end the plot spreads to include demonstrations and protests leading up to the nati
Brown Girl Reading
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started this book in November and then read a little bit in December and finally finished it in January. This novel is best described as an engrossing saga of a Muslim family in the early 1900s. The characters situations and places are described in heavy detail, which make the story very realistic even though it is fiction. The reader can get the full effects of lif in Egypt at this time and the oppressive life for women and for the Egyptian people. Palace Walk is the fir novel of the trilogy ...more
Beautifully written, gently flowing story of a Muslim family in Cairo in the early part of the 1900's. Wonderful characterisation of all the family members from the despotic father who enjoyed the best of both worlds, his peace making but submissive wife Amina and his very different offspring. My favourite being Kamal in his quest for knowledge and his wide eyed innocence.

Will hopefully get to the other two novels in the series very soon. A different way of life, a different culture but at heart
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sitting in the garden of my friend Jim yesterday with several other readers we were discussing this novel by the Nobel-prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz. Everyone agreed that it was a good read and perhaps even a great book. The reasons center on the characters Mahfouz has created and their relationships--their story. he story is one which takes you back to Cairo, Egypt during the Great War. Palace Walk is set in Cairo, and covers the time between 1917 and the Egyptian revolution of 1919. Most of the ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Men have the right to anything they want and women have a duty to obey” is the philosophy upon which this cast of characters operates, and it sets the stage for moral outrage on the part of western readers, and self destruction on the part of some characters as their world is torn asunder with change.

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, a successful shopkeeper living in the Cairo neighbourhood of Palace Walk, is literally the king of his domain, ruling his family with a fundamentalist fist, while living a profl
Despite the fact that the father irritated me intensely with his hypocrisy, I loved this family saga set in 1900 (?) up to 1919 Cairo! I got involved with all the family members and learned a bit more about Anglo-Egyptian relations post-WW1 as well. I can see why Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize!
Missy J

I have wanted to read this classic for a very long time, but was always hesitant to pick it up. What if I don't get it, the way I didn't enjoy and understand Doctor Zhivago or Midnight Children? Palace Walk is also quite a big book, so I kept putting it off. Until I made it a priority to read it before 2018 ends.

Wow, how mistaken I was! This book is so readable, the characters are so vivid and the plot was easy to follow. I love family sagas that are juxtaposed to the development of a nation
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 0-egypt
The reader follows the everyday life of the Abd al-Jawad family, living in Cairo, from early 1900 under British protectorate to the revolution of 1919. There isn't only the interesting historical background, but what I found more fascinating were the habits and customs of everyday life in this Egyptian family.
There is the despotic father, Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who terrorized the other members of the family; nice, friendly and a perfect buddy outside the household, but an unbearable fathe
May 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was frustrated with this book...I was expecting more...
I struggled through the first 150 pages, just trying to become interested in the characters and see where the story was headed. The family was so far outside of my experience that I found them difficult to relate to.

The father was overbearing, cruel, distant, prideful and hypocritical. He saved his best and most pleasant traits for his friends and his family was left with a far-removed disciplinarian. And he never changed. Amina, the moth
Lisa Vegan
I loathed the father and was incredibly frustrated with the mother. I had a difficult time understanding most of the characters. Sometimes, especially when there are the cultural and era differences there are here, I have tremendous interest in a book; here it made it very difficult for me to read it. I’m not sure why as I’ve adored plenty of books with evil or unappealing characters. I did begin to enjoy it a bit more toward the end and I should probably give the next two books in the trilogy a ...more
PALACE WALK by Naguib Mahfouz, tr. from Arabic (Egypt) by William Maynard Hutchins and Olive E. Kenny / 1956 Arabic, 1990 English.

Mahfouz's first book in his famed Cairo Trilogy impressed me in it's scope, even if it took a few pages for me to "warm up" fully to it. At 500 pages, the book spends several short chapters setting the scene and introducing the large Al-Jawad family. Once that was set in my mind, I was easily drawn into this story.

Palace Walk follows al-Sayyid Ahmad and his wife Amina
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mahfouz is the only Arab writer to my knowledge to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. This particular novel is the first of three in his Cairo Trilogy, published in 1956 and translated into English in 1990. I am unsure what I expected when I began reading it. Within the past few months I had completed Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, and I suppose I expected something similar. I could not have been more mistaken.

This work takes place in Cairo between 1917 and 1919, from the y
They do things differently there...

Amina is the wife of al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, married to him before she was fourteen. Now with her own children approaching adulthood, Amina prides herself on her docility and spends her life trying to be a perfect wife to Ahmad, a bullying husband and tyrannical father. This is the story of Amina and Ahmad and their five children, set to the backdrop of the end of WW1, the rise of nationalism and the dying days of colonial Egypt.

First published in 1956,
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first installment of Mahfouz's Cairo trilogy. This first novel serves as an introduction to the Al-Jawad family, centered around its tyrannical patriarch Mr Ahmad. He rules his family with an iron fist, but luckily his family obligations do not stand in the way of his libertine nightlife. As daily life unfolds in Palace Walk, with its retinue of weddings, births, deaths, divorces, so does History in this Cairo of 1919, where the British rule starts to fray at the seams.

I was absolute
Absolutely astounding and outstanding novel. Wow, I must process this before writing a review.
Dioni (Bookie Mee)
Mee's rating: 4.5/5

First published at:

Palace Walk is the first novel in the Cairo Trilogy by the winner of 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, from Egypt - Naguib Mahfouz. First published in 1956, the novel started in 1917 in the midst of WWI. Egypt was occupied by the British, and after the war was over, talks of independence were rampant.

We see Egypt through the viewpoint of a single family: the patriarch Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, his submissive wife Amina, and
Nov 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book comes across as well written even in translation. The prose is easy to read and the level of detail is very high so you can picture what everything looks like perfectly. The book (at least as far as I've gotten) has no plot, it's all about the characterisation and unfortunately the characterisation is the most regrettable thing I've read in a LONG time. Imagine if you will a book written less than a century after slavery ended, written by a white man, where one of the central character ...more
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Naguib Mahfouz (Arabic author profile: نجيب محفوظ) was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He published over 50 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Egyptian and foreign films. ...more

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