Naguib Mahfouz is not only Egypt's most respected writer. He is also the most influential novelist in the history of Arabic literature. More than any other author, Mahfouz found innovative ways to make the novel, a primarily Western form, relevant to Arabic experience. His many novels and short stories cover almost every literary genre, but none is more exciting or original than The Thief and the Dogs. Spanning the wealthy suburbs and crowded slums of Cairo, this thrilling crime story combines stream of consciousness technique with the hard-boiled style of detective fiction to create a harrowing account of crime and punishment.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read addresses this issue by bringing communities together to read, discuss, and celebrate books and writers from American and world literature.
A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us. Whether you’re a regular reader already or making up for lost time, thank you for joining The Big Read.
Naguib Mahfouz (Image by Barry Iverson/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Cairo, Egypt (Image by Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)