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The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz
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The Thief and the Dogs (1961)

by Naguib Mahfouz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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  AMIDEASTJordan | Apr 9, 2012 |
Said Maufoud is recently released from prison and is intent on revenge against his betrayors. The plot depicts his obsession with this, and contrasts society's influence with his personal responsibility for his destructive path. In the end, there is no conclusive answer as to which is more accountable for the outcome.
1 vote elenchus | Jul 16, 2010 |
Very tight and fast-paced. Not like any Mahfouz I've read before. As someone else notes, something like Dostoyevsky re the focus on Said's galloping mental state, but while I read it, I was thinking of Camus. ( )
1 vote Periodista | Sep 25, 2009 |
This novella by the Nobel Prize winning author is set in Egypt after the 1952 Revolution, and describes the events following the release of a young man who is released from a Cairo prison after serving a four year sentence for grand theft. He was betrayed by two former colleagues, who both have become wealthy from their gains, which began in a noble quest to steal from wealthy residents of the city in support of the Revolution. Upon his release he visits the first traitor, who has married his wife and taken in his young daughter, who screams in horror and refuses to greet him when he sees her. He is consumed with anger, and with the help of former companions, he plans his revenge on the two men and his ex-wife. He is unsuccessful in his attempts, and he becomes more desperate, as the city and state police slowly descend upon him.

This was a good read, in the existential style of Camus' The Stranger. ( )
1 vote kidzdoc | Aug 8, 2009 |
This book is what I'd expect Dostoevsky to write if he was on crank listening to Blag Flag. I loved the hatred that seethed through each page. Revenge is the driving force of this book. After spending 4 years in an Egyptian prison Said Mahran is freed only to find that his wife, friend, and mentor betrayed him. He immediately plans revenge vowing to kill the dogs that let him down.

The pace of the book is fast and developed differently from my expectations. I did like the way Mahfouz gave us direct insight into Said's thoughts... dark thoughts they were too. Excellent book.

Favorite passages:

"What does a man need in this country, Said?" and without waiting for an answer he said, "He needs a gun and a book: the gun will take care of the past, the book is for the future..."

What a lot of graves there are, laid out as far as the eye can see. Their headstones are like hands raised in surrender, though they are beyond being threatened by anything. A city of silence and truth, where success and failure, murderer and victim, come together, where thieves and policemen lie side by side in peace for the first and last time. ( )
3 vote Banoo | Aug 23, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mahfouz, NaguibAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Badawī, Muḥammad MuṣṭafáTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Gassick, TrevorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385264623, Paperback)

Naguib Mahfouz's haunting novella of post-revolutionary Egypt combines a vivid pychological portrait of an anguished man with the suspense and rapid pace of a detective story.

After four years in prison, the skilled young thief Said Mahran emerges bent on revenge. He finds a world that has changed in more ways than one. Egypt has undergone a revolution and, on a more personal level, his beloved wife and his trusted henchman, who conspired to betray him to the police, are now married to each other and are keeping his six-year-old daughter from him. But in the most bitter betrayal, his mentor, Rauf Ilwan, once a firebrand revolutionary who convinced Said that stealing from the rich in a unjust society is an act of justice, is now himself a rich man, a respected newspaper editor who wants nothing to do with the disgraced Said. As Said's wild attempts to achieve his idea of justice badly misfire, he becomes a hunted man so driven by hatred that he can only recognize too late his last chance at redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Just released from prison, Said Mahran finds himself betrayed by the most important people in his life--forgotten by his daughter, abandoned by his wife, and rejected by his mentor.

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