“The Thief and The Dogs” by Nagib Mahfuz

This article is also available in: Italiano

Our first novel by Nagib Mahfuz tells of a man so blinded by revenge that he decreed his own end

The Thief and The Dogs

A thief leaves prison after serving his sentence, ready to take revenge on those who betrayed him. In the heat of revenge, however, Said Maharan will kill 2 innocents, thus leading his life to a sad and inevitable end.

A short novel

“The thief and the dogs” is a short novel in which you are catapulted into the suburbs of Cairo, immersed in an almost unreal atmosphere made up of thoughts, anger and many shadows. Said Maharan is the absolute protagonist of the novel, a young man who since childhood has had to endure hunger to live and who, after years in prison, chooses to take revenge on those who have betrayed him. The plans, however, do not go as planned and the unfortunate will find himself missing the blow several times, thus precipitating more and more in a vortex of anger and resignation, coming to not even think about the woman who loves him anymore.

Nagib Mahfuz

The art of Nagib Mahfuz

I am honest: I had never read a book by Mahfuz before. Not that it had not happened before my eyes but I simply had never deepened my knowledge. In this book, however, he confirms himself as a worthy winner of the nobel prize for literature, succeeding fully and sinking into the torn mind of Said Maharan, now increasingly blinded by hatred and despair. The book also presents interesting double readings linked to the names of the main characters and also present in the Italian edition.

With this novel Mahfuz manages to put in just 139 pages all the pain and resignation of the average Egyptian, forced in the end to resign himself and accept injustice as an integral part of his life. The difference with ‘Ala al Aswani, however, lies in the characters: Mahfuz focuses almost exclusively on the characters’ thoughts while the latter also focuses heavily on their story. They are two different approaches, also the result of different eras, which however manage to impress and involve you, allowing even the most western of readers to get to know the life of Cairo and its inhabitants up close.

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Nagib Mahfuz

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