Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature to explore themes of existentialism. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988 and is best known for his Cairo Trilogy, which paints a vivid portrait of Egyptian society in the early 20th century. His works have been praised for their insightful and nuanced exploration of politics, society, and humanity.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Children of Gebelawi

    "Children of Gebelawi" is a novel that allegorically presents the stories of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed through the lives of characters in a Cairo neighborhood. The patriarch, Gebelawi, has five children, each representing a different prophet or religious figure, and their struggles mirror the religious and philosophical conflicts of the 20th century. The book explores themes of power, faith, and redemption, and it sparked controversy upon publication due to its portrayal of sacred figures.

    The 1173rd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Palace Walk

    The novel is set in Cairo during World War I and revolves around the life of a conservative Muslim family. The patriarch, a shopkeeper, has two wives and several children, and the story explores the dynamics within the family, particularly the tyrannical father's relationships with his wives and children. As the family navigates through a changing society, they encounter various challenges including political unrest, societal norms, and the struggle between tradition and modernity.

    The 1220th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Cairo Trilogy

    "The Cairo Trilogy" is a captivating tale set in Egypt during the early 20th century, following the lives of the Abd al-Jawad family. The trilogy explores the intricacies of family dynamics, societal changes, and political unrest, as it delves into the personal struggles and triumphs of its characters. With vivid descriptions and rich storytelling, the trilogy offers a deep insight into the complexities of Egyptian society, tradition, and modernization, making it a timeless masterpiece of literature.

    The 1949th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Miramar

    Set in 1960s Egypt, "Miramar" tells the story of an aging revolutionary, a rich man's daughter, a corrupt journalist, and a real estate agent who all come to reside at the Miramar Pension in Alexandria. Their lives intertwine with the life of the young peasant woman who works there as a maid, and through their interactions, the novel explores themes of social and political change in Egypt, the struggle between old and new, and the power of the individual to shape their own destiny.

    The 1981st Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Palace of Desire

    "Palace of Desire" is a novel set in Cairo in the 1920s, continuing the saga of the Cairene patriarch Al-Sayyid Ahmad and his family. It explores the dynamics of the family, the father's authoritarian rule, the sons' rebelliousness, and the daughters' submissiveness. The book also delves into the themes of love, lust, power, and the struggle between tradition and modernity in Egyptian society. The narrative is a blend of social realism and psychological insight, offering a vivid portrait of a society in transition.

    The 6710th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Sugar Street

    "Sugar Street" is the final novel in a trilogy set in Cairo, Egypt, from the 1919 Egyptian Revolution through the end of World War II. It follows the lives of the al-Jawad family, focusing on the younger generation's political activism and romantic entanglements against the backdrop of a changing society. The book explores themes of modernization, colonialism, and the clash between tradition and progress.

    The 6710th Greatest Book of All Time