!!> Read ➵ ميرامار ➹ Author Naguib Mahfouz – Metalstampedmemories.info
I read this in English in December 2007 when i was in Alexandria, Egypt where the book takes place I gave it four stars, but i never wrote a review because i hadn t joined GoodReads yet I just remember that i enjoyed this book quite a lot i remember liking the gloomy atmosphere of the story and I enjoyed that the weather i was experiencing was just as Mahfouz described it in this book Also there was some suspense, which is always fun.Now i am trying to read it in Arabic Because i am crazy and very possibly a glutton for punishment I have this weird idea that i might understand than and by the time i get to the last page.Please, wish me luck.And thank you all my dear egyptian friends for not laughing at me while i attempt this insanity XOXO, Miramar was assigned reading for an undergraduate class that I took on Middle Eastern history It s a combination murder mystery and character study, told Rashomon style from the perspectives of several different guests staying at the Miramar hotel in 1950s Egypt At the center of it all is Zohra, a liberated young female employee at the hotel who fled from her traditionalist family to escape being forced into an unwanted marriage She is the object of all the guests attentions, and their reactions to her run the gamut from admiration to resentment It definitely helps to read this knowing something about modern Egyptian history, both to understand the context of the setting and to grasp the symbolism that Mahfouz imbues in his characters each of the guests represent particular aspects of Egyptian society, while Zohra is meant to symbolize the entire nation of Egypt itself Even if you don t know anything about Egypt, though, I think Miramar could still be enjoyed simply for the quality of its characters and storytelling. At the background of this novel is a revolution, an Egyptian revolution, of which I knew absolutely nothing about What makes it worse is that Egyptian names for people, places and events are all really weird looking and strange sounding to my eyes and ears A famous Egyptian female singer from 1937 to 1970, for example, had the name Umm Kulthum A farm woman or peasant is a fellaha and their equivalent of man as in Don t look at me, man, I didn t do it is ferekeeko one playboy type character s favorite expression here is Ferekeeko, don t blame me.A lot of sometimes distracting footnotes explain this Egyptian revolution and events places characters related to it, but my advice is to not pay so much attention to the details The point, I think, of having the revolution as a background is easy to understand this revolution didn t really effect any fundamental change It just replaced the old elite with a new elite The poor remained poor the women still as second class citizens In a way, we ve had similar pseudo revolutions here in my country and I bet that s the same revolution Libya just had recently.The story is set in the city of Alexandria The Miramar here is a pension house run by a madame type of lady who had been beautiful and sought after by men in the past but who has now fallen into difficult times The central character here, the heroine, however, is a young and very beautiful fellaha who had ran away from her village to escape a marriage to an old man being forced upon her by her family To earn her keep, she decides to stay at Miramar as an errand girl She strives to better herself by learning to read and write.Four male boarders alternately narrate the chapters, all of them somewhat scarred by the country s past and or the unjust and dysfunctional society it had created Each with his own story to tell, each with his eyes upon the fellaha, and each with his own personal adventures and misadventures With one of them the fellaha falls in love Another one dies.The narration is tight, as if the author considers it a crime to waste words You will admire him and marvel at his prowess, however Naguib Mahfouz is someone who loves his country very much and understands it well And he s a wonderful storyteller This is above all a social novel, a cross section of how people lived and experienced their relationships to society in Alexandria in the 1960s and a political novel, since everything in it is very much affected by the rearrangements of power that were taking place, and by questions of who s gaining, who s losing, how will people survive, or even improve their place in the new order The guests at the Pension Miramar an old radical and a young radical, an old aristocrat and a young aristocrat, all of whom have been washed away by the July Revolution and a fifth guest who s apparently floating on top of the tides reveal their thoughts as the events of a couple of weeks are told from four different perspectives One thing so many people have in common in this book is a sense of aimlessness and futility, of lost opportunities and no future, and Mahfouz makes a good case for this being a pretty general condition of Alexandrian society then, not peculiar to these characters They all spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the young country bred maid Zohra, not just because she s beautiful, but also because she s dynamic She, alone, knows what she wants and has the will to reach for it The other two young men hate Sarhan El Beheiry because it seems like he has it made in the revolutionary world, like he s headed right for success Only we readers come to know that he doesn t feel successful at all, that he can t cope with the demands of his life, can t be satisfied with what he has and is too weak to achieve anything The author s alter ego, the old journalist Amer Wagdi, provides ruminative perspective on everything at the beginning, it seemed like he too might sink into bitter brooding, but besides being helped by religion he is encouraged by observing Zohra s strong will and how she avoids letting any of the weaker characters drag her down with them Thus, bad as the situation is, the novel can still end on a hopeful note. I started reading the novel long ago, and I have just finished it, it was a bit boring for me, as Naguib was retelling the same events but from different points of view I mean the characters, and this is something I don t like as for me I get bored very quickly. A book that was somehow on my bookshelf for a decade finally peeped out shyly and spoke to me Miramar is the sort of book that I must have picked sometime in 2008 because my friend and I used to read a lot of Middle Eastern literature together This is not the Middle East This is set in Egypt and frequently evokes a revolution in that country of which I know little about Which is why I believe that we need to read widely confining ourselves to the Bestsellers list will make you the life of the party, but your soul remains a cage confined to society This is one of the most uniquely constructed novels I have ever read Miramar refers to the pension where a motley bunch of characters stay One incident happens But the same is told in the first person by each of the characters It makes you reinterpret the same incident and obtain a different perspective each time Fascinating as a narrative device and proof of a wonderful writer s skill. Read it in one setting, I wish I had the Arabic version nonetheless great read. Set in 1960s Alexandria, Egypt The action takes place around a pension a bed and breakfast for extended stay customers above the Miramar cafe A girl, fresh from a small village, has run away from her family and an arranged marriage, and works as a servant in the pension She is a symbol of Egypt itself rejecting the old ways, and working hard to educate itself to be self sufficient Yet people keep trying to interfere Like Faulkner s As I Lay Dying, each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character Each adds to the symbolism, as they represent a different aspect of the rising tide in Egypt at the time None of them are particularly ideal, but there is little difficulty in telling the different the narrators apart With the deftness of an observer of human nature we see three young males and their odd attempts to woo Zohra All are similar, yet each one is distinct We have the rich boy, ripe in arrogance, who assumes that because she is poor, he could have the girl with a snap of his fingers The emotional void who is frightened of processing deep emotions, and rejects any idea of happiness for himself Last is the man who separates love from marriage Unless a marriage can propel him upwards socially, he feels no need to indulge in it All three of the ideologies come to blows surrounding the lovely Zhora, resulting in a murder There are numerous references made to the political turmoil in Egypt during that time period Effectively the country had gone through a series of revolutions Some readers might not be aware of the various political upheavals of the country, but at the time of the novel, it is just a few years after the 1952 revolution which completely abolished the monarchy and was setting about tearing down those nobles who had profited from it The government was a fiercely nationalistic one, with various communist and Islamic fanatics skirting around the corners If you ve never heard of this before, well join the club I had only a cursory knowledge of these events and that didn t prevent me from enjoying the book. Popular Book, By Naguib Mahfouz This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book , Essay By Naguib Mahfouz Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You Great introduction into Egyptian and contemporary Arabic literature Naguib Mahfooz is definetely one of the greatest authors I have had the priviledge to come across I read this book when I was 16 and not much knowledgeable about Egyptian society s components and the era of Nasser However, the writing style, plot and character development is exquisite, thus the novel can easily be enjoyed even from people who don t know much about Egypt Yet, by the end of the book they might have learnt one or two pieces of information about this north African nation Also the atmospheric description of the decaying Alexandria and the diegetic sounds of Om Khoulthum celebrated Egyptian singer playing on the radio will further spark your interest for exploring further works and context over Egypt and its authors.