Synopses & Reviews
Nearly sixty of Egypt's past leaders — from the time of the Pharoahs to the twentieth century — are summoned to judgment in the Court of Osiris in the Afterlife, in this extraordinary novel by Nobel Prize–winning author Naguib Mahfouz.
Before the Throne calls forth a parade of those who have shaped the modern nation of Egypt — from the ruler who first unified Egypt in 3000 BC to Anwar Sadat, the president assassinated by religious extremists in 1981, and including figures as various as the famous pharaoh Ramesses II and the medieval vizier Qaraqush. As they defend their decisions under questioning by Osiris, Isis, and Horus, those who acted for the nation's good are honored with immortality in paradise while those who failed to protect it are condemned either to the inferno or to "the place of insignificance." Full of Mahfouz's unique insight into his country's timeless qualities, this provocative work skillfully traces five thousand years of Egypt's past as it flows into the turbulent present.
"Mahfouz is a storyteller of the first order in any idiom." Vanity Fair
In this extraordinary drama-in-dialogue, Naguib Mahfouz reveals his love for all of Egypt's extensive history-and his deep knowledge of it. In Before the Throne, he summons nearly sixty of Egypt's rulers to the afterlife Court of Osiris, from a king who unified Egypt for the first time, around 3000 BC, to a president assassinated by religious extremists in 1981. He includes names as familiar as the pharaoh Ramesses II and as obscure as the medieval vizier Qaraqush. Defending their behavior before the divine tribunal, those who acted for the nation's good are honored with immortality, but those who failed to protect it leave the gilded hall of eternal justice with a very different verdict. Full of Mahfouz's unique insight into his country's timeless qualities, this controversial work skillfully traces five thousand years of Egypt's past as it flows into the present, through the mind of its most acclaimed author.
About the Author
Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911 in Cairo and began writing at the age of seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and he went on to write nearly forty novel-length works and hundreds of short stories. In 1988 Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in 2006.