Friday, February 24, 2012

Just Finished: Voices From the Other World

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has an online book club wherein they specify a book that ties in with various works in the museum's collection.  You read the book, then bring it along for a docent-guided tour of the exhibits.  Book geek that I am, I was thrilled to learn of this.  The current selection is Voices From the Other World by Naguib Mahfouz, a collection of five short stories that retell Egyptian myths and folktales in a modern voice. 

All of the stories have a light touch.  Some are ironic, as "Evil Abroad," in which a magistrate is faced with the fulfillment of his greatest ambition:  evil and corruption cease to exist in his city.  Everyone is happy, safe, and morally upright. But what to do now that his life's purpose is gone?  Others, such as "The Mummy Awakens," are farcical.  In the moving (but still light) "A Voice From the Other World," a man dies suddenly and narrates his journey from embalming, through a vision of his family's future, to his final, joyful "sinking into Eternity."

Naguib Mahfouz, born in Cairo in 1911, has written dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1988.  I'm sorry to say I've never heard of this author, but I'll certainly be looking for more of his work;  I enjoyed this one very much.

1 comment:

  1. I have read one of his books and am aware of his great reputation, thank you for sharing another that I must watch out for, I love to read voices from other cultures.