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The Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories [Hardcover]

By Naguib Mahfouz (Author)
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Item description for The Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories by Naguib Mahfouz...

Naguib Mahfouz, famed for his uncanny power to depict the real world, is equally ingenious at capturing the surreal, the otherworldly, and the supernatural. The ghostly side of Mahfouz's fiction, though less well known than his other works, nonetheless remains a haunting presence. This collection of stories sifted from his later writings brings these restless spirits out of the Mahfouzian shadows together for the first time in English: A murdered man finds himself in the first level of what he mistakes for Paradise - where he faces, along with historical figures such as Akhenaten, Woodrow Wilson, and Gamal Abd al-Nasser, a strange system of earthly probation that may (or may not) get him to the fabled Seventh Heaven. A teenager is warned not to go near the allegedly haunted wood in his neighborhood, only to be drawn into the secret, enchanted life he finds within it. An honest perfume seller is accosted on a night out by angry skeletons, who threaten to march upon his alley as an avenging army if the sinners there do not change their ways. Satan speaks to us directly - to confess that there is still, despite the flood of evil in our times, an honorable man in the land. These and the other startling stories in The Seventh Heaven make a vivid contribution to the translated works of Egypt's - and the Arab world's - greatest modern author.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: American University in Cairo Press
Pages   156
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 23, 2006
Publisher   American University in Cairo Press
ISBN  9774249402  
ISBN13  9789774249402  

Availability  0 units.

More About Naguib Mahfouz

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Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he became the first writer in Arabic to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in August 2006.

Naguib Mahfouz currently resides in Agouza Cairo. Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911.

Naguib Mahfouz has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cairo Trilogy

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Middle Eastern > Arabic
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Visionary Fiction
8Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies
9Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories?

Presenting very different focuses than your usual ghost story gathering  Jul 25, 2006
Naguib Mahfouz's supernatural fiction is outstanding, and it's too bad it's lesser known than his other works. The story collection culls his later writings to gather a supernatural presentation under one cover for the first time, presenting very different focuses than your usual ghost story gathering. From a teen facing down a haunted wood in his neighborhood to discover a rare secret to an honest perfume seller accosted by angry skeletons, good and evil are present in the supernatural world, seep into the world of the living, and seep into the satisfying reads here.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
Parables on life, death and rebirth  Mar 5, 2006
I must confess that I have not read even a portion of the bulk off Naguib Mahfouz's work. He has written over forty novels, hundredths of articles and screenplays and is still in his old age actively writing, despite being severely wounded and subsequently crippled by a "religious" maniac. Nonetheless, it clear that his writing has a certain clearness, a way of looking into the heart of man and despite the honesty of it, leaving us with ambiguity and uncertainty. He makes it clear to us that people are not always what they seem to be and what seems to be moral to one person is trespassing and ultimate sin to another. Moreover, people in his works seem to hover without difficulty between righteousness and a world of shadows. This view of reality and all that is compromises, seems to be the bulwark and foundation of his work and especially these supernatural short stories.

In the first and longest story, The Seventh Heaven, a young student is killed by his best friend out of envy for a woman. The young man, Raouf, encounters Heaven and it is absolutely not what he expects it to be. He is judged by an ancient Egyptian priest, called Abu, who decides whether to let him rise to the second heaven immediately, punish him by reincarnation into a lower life, or send him as a spiritual guide to a lost soul. Raouf learns that the brutal man controlling his alley, the father of his murderous friend Anous, is actually Adolph Hitler and Raoufs own mother an infamous Egyptian serial killer, who unknowingly chose the righteous pass with the help of her spiritual guide. He meets figures world history such as Woodrow Wilson and Akhenaton, the later trying to redeem himself by guiding sinners for over a thousandth years, but failing every time. Raouf is judged as not yet worthy of the second heaven and send as a spiritual guide to unscrupulous Anous. It suffices to say that the whole story and its premise are in striking contrast to Islamic orthodoxy. In "The Disturbing Occurrences" a man appears both sophisticated and benevolent to some and satanic and sadistic to others, all the while the police man investigating him is rendered incapable of deciding which one of the two is his true persona. In "Room No.12" an unwary hotel manager is occupied by the demands of a strange aristocratic lady and her more then unusual guests, when all hell breaks loose. Death, sin, virtue and tradition play a very important part in the allegory of Mahfouz's stories. In "The Rose Garden" a clash between the traditional view of the deceased in Egypt and modern innovation lead to a murder, while in "A Warning from Afar" the spirits of the deceased threaten to march onto a sinful neighborhood as vengeful skeletons.

The stories and parables contained in this collection, with some stories having a time difference of over thirty years, are beautifully thought out reflection on death, virtue, truth and simple human confusion in the bustle and hectic of life. They are rich in allegory and metaphors, very often hovering between pessimism and hope, even reflecting on the unexpected hope and spiritual rebirth (take that literal) that death can bring. No matter what our opinion on his ability to depict the mysterious and otherworldly, Mahfouz's literary and intellectual statue remains unscathed and these stories are worth reading, if only to send a delightful shiver down our spine, or to make us pause for a moment and rethink important matters and convictions which we hold certain.

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