First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Naguib Mahfouz’s haunting novella of post-revolutionary Egypt combines a vivid psychological portrait of an anguished man with the suspense and rapid pace of a detective story.
After four years in prison, the skilled young thief Said Mahran emerges bent on revenge. He finds a world that has changed in more ways than one. Egypt has undergone a revolution and, on a more personal level, his beloved wife and his trusted henchman, who conspired to betray him to the police, are now married to each other and are keeping his six-year-old daughter from him. But in the most bitter betrayal, his mentor, Rauf Ilwan, once a firebrand revolutionary who convinced Said that stealing from the rich in a unjust society is an act of justice, is now himself a rich man, a respected newspaper editor who wants nothing to do with his disgraced former friend. As Said’s wild attempts to achieve his idea of justice badly misfire, he becomes a hunted man so driven by hatred that he can only recognize too late his last chance at redemption.
Before starting off with this weekly post, I want to greet everyone a happy Friday! Another work week has ended and over the horizon, the weekend is knocking. The past few weeks have been quite challenging as we are rushing to complete the 2020 financial audit of three entities I am handling. The present circumstances is making it doubly hard but I am just hoping it will all end soon, both the pandemic and the statutory audit.
That is enough life update for now. Fridays also mean First Impression Friday updates. As I have mentioned these past few weeks, I am in the midst of an African literature month, which has so far transported me to various points of Africa such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. My current read, Nobel Laureate in Literature Naguib Mahfouz’s The Thief and the Dogs has transported me to Egypt. After Miramar, this is my second Mahfouz novel, although I have two out of three books of his renowned Cairo Trilogy.
The Thief and the Dogs charts the story of the newly-freed Said Mahran. A thief by vocation, he has spent the past four years incarcerated, dreaming of achieving his revenge on the people who has betrayed him. What he discovered upon his release further stirred the anger that was brewing within him. His former wife, Nabawiyya, who divorced him while he was in prison, married Said’s friend Ilish Sidra, who also betrayed him. He also found rejection from his daughter, Sana. The only ones who welcomed him after his release are Nur and Tarzan.
The novel, like Miramar, is a rather quick read. I am just a couple of pages from completing it but some urgent matters have occupied my time. Apart from its short length, the novel also has a quick pace which made me zoom through it; I just might finish it tonight. There are elements of suspense, and revenge of course but the story revolves around existentialism. To further underscore this existentialist theme, Mahfouz utilized a mix of third-person perspective and a stream-of-consciousness storytelling. I have formed an idea of how the story is going to end but I am hoping that it is not going to be as predictable or as simple as I expected it to be.
How about you fellow reader, what book are you going to read this weekend? I hope it is a book that you’ve been looking forward to and I hope you enjoy it. Keep safe, and happy weekend!