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AUC Press's Description
In this rich and intricate novel, Naguib Mahfouz guides us through the history of an alley whose denizens—some fearsome, most fearful, a few fearless—are all the descendants of one man, Gabalawi, who now keeps himself hidden away in the mansion at the top of the alley. From the supreme feudal lord who disowns one son for cruel pride and puts another to the test, to the savior of a succeeding generation, we observe the men and women of this quintessential Cairo neighborhood unwittingly reenacting the lives of their venerable forebears, telling through their rivalries, battles, love affairs, and miracles the spiritual history of mankind.