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Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories

by Naguib Mafouz

Surreal, magical, often darkly funny short stories that explore the nature of good and evil as characters, including Adolf Hitler and the Devil, slip between modern Egypt and other worlds. The title story seems to be a cross between Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones' and Philip Jose Farmer's 'Fabulous Riverboat'; - not forgetting the Egyptian setting. Highly recommended, but unless you are already familiar with Mahfouz's work, I would advise reading the introduction because, for me, it brought down the book's difficulty level by 3 points.

Extract

The next arrival approached; he delivered a written report, uttered some stirring words, then vanished completely. 'That was President Wison!' Raouf exclaimed.
'You are correct.'
'I'd assumed he was one of the happy few who'd risen to the Second Heaven.'
'You are no doubt referring to his sacred principles,' observed Abu, 'But you forget that he neglected to use America's power to implement them - and that he recognised the protectorate over Egypt.'
Translated by Raymond Stock

Parallels

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfoux
 

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