Friday, June 28, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: NAGUIB MAHFOUZ'S "CHILDREN OF THE ALLEY"



The book was originally written in Arabic by an Egyptian writer. It contains five chapters that are named after the main characters of the separate stories: Adham, Gabal, Rifaa, Qassem and Arafa. These people were actually related to one another except that they were of different generations. The similarity is that they all lived in the alley full of gangsters, and these people had the hearts of gold and were the heroes who had fought for justice and equality for the community who lived in fear and poverty. Then, people became happy and lived a peaceful life. Nevertheless, peace could not last long as the newer generation would then craze for power and money. Everything reverted the way it used to be when the rich and powerful controlled and oppressed the weak and poor. Gangsters collected money and beat the unlucky ones who refused to pay or whom might become a threat to them like animals.

I have never imagined how people (at that era) could be so cruel and inhumane. After reading this book, I think we should always be thankful for the life we have today. At least, when we fight, we do not throw stones at each other and bleed to death.

A different culture from a different place, it is a story worth reading.