The Quarter

A neighbourhood of demons, dancing and sweet halva, the quarter keeps quiet vigil over the secrets of all who live there.

Meet the people of Cairo’s Gamaliya quarter. There is Nabqa, son of Adam the waterseller who can only speak truths; the beautiful and talented Tawhida who does not age with time; Ali Zaidan, the gambler, late to love; and Boss Saqr who stashes his money above the bath.

This collection by pre-eminent Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz was recently discovered among his old papers. Found with a slip of paper titled ‘for publishing 1994’, they are published here for the first time. Resplendent with Mahfouz’s delicate and poignant observations of everyday happenings, these lively stories take the reader deep into the beating heart of Cairo.

About the author

Naguib Mahfouz (d. 2006) was Egypt’s foremost writer. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 34 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, the most famous are The Cairo Trilogy, The Children of Gebelawi and The Thief and the Dogs. Mahfouz received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988, the first writer in Arabic to do so.

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Why We Like It

  • ‘A master of both detailed realism and fabulous storytelling’ – The Guardian
  • ‘A towering literary figure, and the joyous chronicler of a turbulent Egyptian century’ – The Economist
  • ‘Egypt’s greatest living writer … one of the world’s most humane literary figures’ – Laila Lalami, The Nation
  • ‘The Arab Tolstoy’ – Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • ‘Masterly … Unmistakably Cairene … translated with practised clarity by Roger Allen.’ – TLS

Naguib Mahfouz (d. 2006) is Egypt’s foremost writer. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 34 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, the most famous are The Cairo Trilogy, The Children of Gebelawi and The Thief and the Dogs. Mahfouz received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988, the first writer in Arabic to do so.

About the Translator

Roger Allen obtained his doctoral degree in modern Arabic literature from Oxford University in 1968, the first student to do so. His translations of Naguib Mahfouz’s novels include Mirrors, Autumn Quail, Karnak Café, Khan al-Khalili and One Hour Left, as well as the short story collection God’s World. He has also translated the seminal works of key contemporary authors such as Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Yusuf Idris, May Telmissany, Ahmad al-Tawfiq and Hanan al-Shaykh.

How it works

The book will be delivered in 10 instalments (or staves), one every day. The instalments are delivered to your Pigeonhole bookshelf on your IOS or Android app, plus you can read on our web reader. You will receive an email letting you know when each stave is available.

We believe that shared reading leads to new ideas and connections. That’s why we have a dynamic commenting system which allows in-text discussion between our readers. Post a comment and all your fellow readers will be able to respond. You can also choose to receive notifications (customise them here) when someone responds to your comment, or, additionally, whenever a comment is left in the book.

As you read you will see round purple icons at the edge of certain paragraphs – tap on these to reveal behind-the-scenes extra content!

Links will be included at the end of the final stave which will allow you to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The full book will be available on your Pigeonhole bookshelf for one month for you to read at your leisure. 

Any questions? Drop us a line on laurence@pigeonholepublishing.com.

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TO READ WITH

Join our commmunity of readers or read with friends in your own private book club.

2. PICK A BOOK
 

And read it in bite-sized instalments – called staves – that fit busy modern lives.

3. HIGHLIGHT AND DISCUSS
 

Save your favourite bits and leave thoughts to connect with fellow readers.

4. GET BEHIND
THE STORY

Beautiful extras in the margins immerse you in the world of each book.

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