Gloria Viggiani Viggiani itibaren Texas
The Harafish begins with the story of Ashur al-Nagi, an abandoned baby who grows up to bring justice to his Cairo alley as clan chief. Rather than use his position to enrich himself as other chiefs do, Ashur raises up the harafish--or the common people--of the alley while continuing his simple life as a cart driver. It's also the story of many of his decendants, who aspire to live up to his legendary greatness (greatness through modesty, that is) but mostly fail due to greed, ambition and sometimes madness. It's about so many decendents, in fact, that I wish I'd drawn a diagram to keep track of all the generations and characters. Several of them have the same names,too. This is truly an epic story, even for Mahfouz. These are good to great short stories individually. Together they chronicle hundreds of years of events in this one community. Though I can't be sure how many hundred without that diagram. Being able to cover this much time in a single book has an interesting effect, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the Cairo Trilogy because the characters don't have as much depth. It's hard to get to know somebody when he goes from fetus to old man in the course of a couple chapters. But I suspect the book is really more about the harafish as a group and their relationship to their leaders. The story really seems to be about legends, heros, tyrants and whether ordinarly people wait for great leaders to bring them justice or decide to seize it for themselves.
If you know me, this book, somewhat expectedly, has shaped the way I think about the entire world! If you don't want to read it, just ask me, and I'll talk for several hours at you.