Back to journal page Literature of Naguib Mahfouz  
 

I first became familiar with the 20th century literature of Egypt and the contribution of Naguib Mahfouz when I read the short story Zaabalawi in Norton's Anthology of World Masterpieces. It's about a wanderer named Sheikh Zaabalawi who is believed to be a saint with healing powers by those who have met him. His whereabouts are totally unpredictable and he has no permanent address since having abandoned the mansion he used to live in. Zaabalawi never makes an appearance in the story until the narrator who is fascinated by the subject of him and searching for him is passed out drunk. It is at this time when he is temporarily unconscious that Zaabalawi sits next to him and sprinkles water on his head. Mahfouz's stories always take place in Egypt, especially Cairo where he was from.

 

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz
(1911 - 2006)
Winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature