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Palace of Desire by Naguib Mahfouz
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it was amazing
bookshelves: superb
Recommended for: Readers of "Palace Walk"

This second book in The Cairo Trilogy follows the family and friends of Al Sayyid Ahmad as they pick up the pieces of personal disaster and move on. The grip of the patriarch over his family loosens, and Egypt’s brittle social structure begins to demonstrate unexpected strengths. The action starts in 1924; seven years have passed since the first book ended.

This continuation I thought to be as good as Palace Walk. Here Mahfouz exerts the same masterful control over the narrative. Character development is delectable, and the author knows exactly what and how much to say to give readers an engaging picture of each person. A more humorous side shows in this volume than in the first. One typical gem comes to us when the Theory of Evolution suddenly takes center stage in the plot. On the other hand, this family and its friends need little help from theories to entertain readers with their ordinary antics. Such is the mirthfulness that even people who don’t usually smile while reading might find themselves making a concession to these pages.

Like the first, this second book in The Cairo Trilogy is exceptional literature. Anyone who likes the first book will do well to take up this one, too. Palace of Desire will extend a special appeal to older readers, who will relate warmly to many of the characters who animate the saga. As with its predecessor, I gave this book the highest rating because I saw no way the author could have improved on what he actually wrote.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 25, 2008 – Finished Reading
October 29, 2008 – Shelved
May 15, 2011 – Shelved as: superb

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