dely's Reviews > Palace of Desire

Palace of Desire by Naguib Mahfouz
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
4579103
's review

liked it
bookshelves: 0-egypt

I liked this less respect to Palace Walk, the first book of the Cairo Trilogy.
Events start again five years after the end of "Palace Walk". We meet again all the members of the Al-Sayyid Ahmad family (except Fahmy, of course) and kids are grown-up: the two daughters are married and have children, Yasin continues his dissolute life marrying and divorcing, Kamal is now a teen, has to decide what he wants to study, falls in love for the first time and starts to compare religion and science.
The whole story talks above all about the male characters; Amina and her daughters are only in the background. We know also about their lives, but pretty the whole book is dedicated to Kamal, Yasin and their father.
Some parts were dragging, above all the part dedicated to Kamal's platonic love and his inner monologues. I had a hard time with this part because I couldn't relate to this "perfect" (or naive) love and his inner struggle. I liked a bit more when he starts to struggle about his beliefs and turns from believer to agnostic though this part was too quick. The author doesn't investigate it in details and so I had the impression that Kamal changed from one day to the other.
What I found interesting, is that through Kamal's life we could see how things were changing in Egypt. The youth starts to question religion and they want more freedom. We can see this slow change also with some other characters: Amina, who had lived till now as a recluse in her own house, is now free to go to her daughters or to the mosque; Khadija and Aisha have both a more relaxed marriage compared to that of their mother because their husbands are more openminded.
Another part I didn't like (and it was the other half of the book) were all the illicit relationships of Yasin and Al-Sayyid Ahmad: Yasin divorced, then he wants to marry again but in the meantime he has a sexual relationship with the mother of his bride. This same woman was in the past a lover of his father. Al-Sayyid Ahmad starts a relationship with Zanuba who had been a lover of his son, but at the end Zanuba marries Yasin. It was really too much and unbelievable that father and son had often sexual relations with the same women though in different times.
All in all I liked it, but it was less enthralling compared to the first book and some parts were dragging and not believable.

Will now start Sugar Street, the third book of the Cairo Trilogy.
11 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Palace of Desire.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

September 8, 2015 – Shelved
March 24, 2016 – Started Reading
March 24, 2016 –
page 26
6.02%
March 27, 2016 –
page 118
27.31%
March 30, 2016 –
page 160
37.04%
April 1, 2016 –
page 232
53.7%
April 2, 2016 –
page 310
71.76%
April 4, 2016 –
page 342
79.17%
April 5, 2016 –
page 376
87.04%
April 7, 2016 – Finished Reading
January 5, 2019 – Shelved as: 0-egypt

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Daren Nice review. I will have to avoid your Sugar Street review until I can prioritise it into my own reading! Hmm, maybe I will read it next...


dely Daren wrote: "Nice review. I will have to avoid your Sugar Street review until I can prioritise it into my own reading! Hmm, maybe I will read it next..."

I'm reading them in a row seen that I'm having this full immersion in English. But also because I want to know how the story goes on and if I wait too long, I could forget some details.


Daren dely wrote: "I'm reading them in a row seen that I'm having this full immersion in English. But also because I want to know how the story goes on and if I wait too long, I could forget some details. "

I made an effort to read them within a month of each other so I had some familiarity with the characters and didn't have to relearn them, so I am due to pick up the third one anyway. I understand it covers the life of the two girls families more - they live on Sugar Street.


dely Daren wrote: "dely wrote: "I'm reading them in a row seen that I'm having this full immersion in English. But also because I want to know how the story goes on and if I wait too long, I could forget some details..."

Yes, I think this too though till now I've read only a few pages. By sure all those children are now grown-up, but I don't want to say much more seen that you haven't read it yet.


back to top