Palace Walk (بين القصرين) - Naguib Mahfouz
Honestly, I cannot properly convey how much I loved this book. The Cairo Trilogy has a reputation of being a bit of a literary marvel in Egypt, and it absolutely deserves it. Naguib Mahfouz breathes life into the characters and places without making them sound contrived or overdone. It is impossible not to get lost in the story.
I’ve only read the first part, and I absolutely recommend it for everyone. Not just because the story is riveting but because it centers around a domineering male chauvinist who demands complete, unwavering obedience. His wife does not leave the house for 30 years except for a handful of times to visit her mother. His grown children don’t dare challenge the decisions he makes on their behalf. And yet their relationship is not one of hatred or bitterness, but a mixture of reverence and fear. The family dynamic is fascinating and although it is practically obsolete, I think it is still relevant. It feels like an exaggeration of the ideal of manliness we sometimes see today especially in exceedingly patriarchal societies.
Oh and I tried watching the movie. Just.. no.