The books' titles are taken from actual streets in Cairo, the city of Mahfouz's childhood and youth. The trilogy follows the life of the Cairene patriarch al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad and his family across three generations, from World War I to the overthrow of King Farouk in 1952. "If the urge to write should ever leave me", Mahfouz said in an interview recently, "I want that day to be my last."
"Who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind" * New York Times * "The earliest novels are set in the Pharaonic milieu of ancient Egypt. But here already there are side-long glances at today's society." * Swedish Academy *