Adrift on the Nile
I was told to read this because it was supposed to be “the perfect treatment of life under Nasser”. It’s the story of a group of pseudo intellectuals and broken men who meet on a house boat every night to get high, until a tragic event befalls them leading at least one of them to kinda sorta reexamine his life. I guess it is supposed to be an indictment of educated classes, wasting away their lives while Rome burned, but I don’t know. I’m not really very good at this allegorical stuff.
Anyway, at least in the translation I read, it isn’t a very good book. I can’t tell whether this is because the translator failed to capture Mahfouz’s usual dead-on character development or if Mahfouz just isn’t as capable of capturing drug haze middle class malise as he was the day to day family life depicted in the Palace Walk trilogy. Either way, if you’re dipping into Mahfouz, skip this one.