Thomas Reid: Inquiry & Essays
Normal People

The Magnificent Conman of Cairo

The Magnificent Conman of CairoThe Magnificent Conman of Cairo by Adel Kamel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I recently read an announcement of the new appearance in English of this classic Egyptian novel and was intrigued enough to order it. I've greatly enjoyed the novels of Naguib Mahfouz and was excited to read this novel of another writer in his circle that he recommended.

Much of the book was both enjoyable and funny, filled with satire, as we follow to young men, one poverty-stricken, the other a spoiled-rich university grad. The opening chapters, in particular, also were plotted in interesting and unique ways. As a writer, I was drawn to the time-sequencing and parallels. So the very structure of the novel was enjoyable for me.

However, I thought the story wasn't as enjoyable near the end, as it became a little more politically didactic. And the very final scene left a bad taste because of its sudden moral seriousness. In retrospect, this is clearly where the author was leading, but I wasn't expecting to head in that direction.

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