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Sinuhé, el egipcio by Mika Waltari

Sinuhé, el egipcio (original 1983; edition 2000)

by Mika Waltari, Manuel Bosch Barrett (Translator)

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1,760386,511 (4.25)75
First published in the United States in 1949 and widely condemned as obscene, The Egyptian outsold every other novel published that year, and remains a classic; readers worldwide have testified to its life-changing power. It is a full-bodied re-creation of a largely forgotten era in the world’s history: the Egypt of the 14th century B.C.E., when pharaohs and gods contended with the near-collapse of history’s greatest empire. This epic tale encompasses the whole of the then-known world, from Babylon to Crete, from Thebes to Jerusalem, while centering around one unforgettable figure: Sinuhe, a man of mysterious origins who rises from the depths of degradation to become personal physician to Pharaoh Akhnaton.… (more)
Title:Sinuhé, el egipcio
Authors:Mika Waltari
Other authors:Manuel Bosch Barrett (Translator)
Info:[Barcelona] : Debolsillo : Plaza & Janés, 2001
Collections:Your library
Tags:novel·la, ficció històrica, castellà, autor estranger, Egipte, literatura finesa, clàssics

Work details

The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (1983)

Recently added byCrinyesto, Genenicweb, JordideBarcelona, LourdesNewton, Terebalana, private library, testdev, albertoski
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» See also 75 mentions

English (18)  Spanish (12)  Finnish (4)  French (2)  Czech (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
It's been at least 30 years since I read this book last, and it's still as brilliant as I remember it. It feels ancient and timeless and modern at once. My words cannot do this book justice. ( )
  janne | Jul 22, 2019 |
A remarkable historical novel set in ancient Egypt mainly during the reign of the pharaoh Akhenaton, who tried to bring monotheistic worship of Aton to Egypt. His reign was marked by internal conflict and he and his descendants in the 18th dynasty were later denounced by Horemheb, and their names were erased in the Egyptian records. The worship of Aton is speculated to be a precursor of Judaism.

The book is in the form of autobiography of Sinuhe a physician who rises to become an advisor and friend of pharaohs and kings. His travels take him from Egypt to Syria, Babylon, Mitanni, Hattusa and Crete at the end of Minoan civilization. Albeit set in the 14th century Egypt, the travels of Sinuhe paint a timeless human story in all its foibles and follies. It reveals the brutal reality of human civilization where ultimately the strong oppress the weak and it is the poor who always suffer.

Akhenaton is portrayed as a utopian dreamer and visionary who is completely out of touch with the reality. All his best intentions lead to death and disaster. Sinuhe isn’t exactly a very likable character. He often comes off as cowardly, self-centred and arrogant, but also as one who tries to do good but only at the price of losing everything.

The novel is thoroughly researched and historically accurate for its time. There are some inaccuracies, like Tutankhamen was the son of Akhenaton and Rameses was not the son of Horemheb, but I’m guessing these weren’t known at the time the book was written.
( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
Abandoned about halfway through...I usually love books about Egypt but this bored me senseless. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |

Published in 1945, this was apparently a huge classic in the middle of last century, described as the best known book written in Finnish (Tove Jansson wrote in Swedish), the only Finnish book ever adapted to become a Hollywood movie, and the best-selling translated novel in America until The Name of the Rose.

It's about an ancient Egyptian doctor, Sinuhe, who spends most of the first half of the story travelling through Egypt's neighbours, as far as Crete, Smyrna and Babylon, and then in the second half returns home to participate in the intrigues at the courts of Akhenaton and his successors Tutankhamun and Horemheb (an old friend of the narrator). It was hailed for its "realistic" portrayal of ancient life, which to me tends to signal that it buttressed existing popular conceptions; I definitely felt that the scenes of ideologically driven internal conflict and brutal military suppression of popular uprisings might be drawn from more local experience of mid-century Europe than from any study of ancient Egypt.

It is a solid book of its kind, which would have appealed to the prejudices of mid-century readers while at the same time making them think that the author was informing and enlightening them. Of course, it has a comic slave character, almost all the women are seductresses, and none of the many "Negroes" are named. But there is a decent sense of scale in both space and time, and the reflections of the politics of the day are sufficiently oblique to remain interesting. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | May 30, 2015 |
First published in the United States in 1949 and widely condemned as obscene, The Egyptian outsold every other novel published that year, and remains a classic; readers worldwide have testified to its life-changing power. It is a full-bodied re-creation of a largely forgotten era in the world’s history: the Egypt of the 14th century B.C.E., when pharaohs and gods contended with the near-collapse of history’s greatest empire. This epic tale encompasses ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Tutter | Mar 2, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waltari, Mikaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bendow, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch Barrett, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer Aleu, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fick-Lugten, A. W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gombár, EndreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hellmuthova, MartaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landström, BjörnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacKellar, Robert StuartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perret, Jean louisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walford, NaomiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
I, Sinuhe, the son of Senmut and of his wife Kipa, write this.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Egyptian (1945) is actually an abridged translation of the original work Sinuhe, egyptiläinen.
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Book description
The only Finnish novel adopted into a Hollywood film

Mika Waltari's 1945 novel The Egyptian was turned into a DeLuxe Color epic film by 20th Century Fox in 1954 and was nominated for an academy award a year later.

A 1940s #1 Bestseller and a Historic Novel All-Time Favorite
A historic novel all-time favorite, after its translation in English from Swedish, The Egyptian topped the bestseller charts in 1949 and the years following. 

The protagonist of the novel is the fictional character Sinuhe, the royal physician, who tells the story in exile after Akhenaten's fall and death. Apart from incidents in Egypt, the novel charts Sinuhe's travels in then Egyptian-dominated Syria, in Mitanni, Babylon, Minoan Crete, Mitanni, and among the Hittites.

The main character of the novel is named after a character in an ancient Egyptian text commonly known as The Story of Sinuhe. The original story dates to a time long before that of Akhenaten: texts are known from as early as the 12th Dynasty.

Much concerned about the historical accuracy of his detailed description of ancient Egyptian life forced the author to carry out considerable research into the subject. The result has been praised not only by readers but also by Egyptologists.

Waltari had long been interested in Akhenaten and wrote a play about him which was staged in Helsinki in 1938. World War II provided the final impulse for exploring the subject in a novel which, although depicting events that took place over 3,300 years ago


Tired of Reading an Old, Yellow, Dog Eared Copy of The Egyptian?
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