Midaq Alley is the story of the titular alley in Cairo. Set in 1940, it follows an ensemble cast through their highly stylized lives. The author plays with themes common to Arab culture and with caricatures common to Arabic literature as a whole, going so far as to summarize Arabic literary conventions and cultural fixtures at the book's opening. The novel dwells on themes of urban chaos, poverty, dishonesty, and the individual's relation to culture.

Summary of Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz

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