Good news for any Mahfouz enthusiast planning to visit Cairo or Luxor. Take an empty suitcase and you can now buy, thanks to the American University in Cairo Press, a boxed set of 'The 25 Fiction Volumes of the Nobel Laureate in English'. Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1988, after which right-thinking booksellers moved his available works from Oriental Studies to Fiction A–Z. Good news, too, that decent English versions of Khan al-Khalili (1946) and The Mirage (1948) have just appeared.
With the first of these we are plunged into wartime Cairo. Is it generally known that Egypt's sprawling capital suffered German, possibly Italian, air raids? Sirens wail, bombs fall and people flee to their shelters, cellars and tunnels, furious about this war between other nations daring to disturb