Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories by Naguib Mafouz

Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories

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.'

Parallels
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  • Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfoux

Books with similar mood

The Pale King

David Foster Wallace

Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang

Karloff's Circus

Steve Aylett

You Should Have Left

Daniel Kehlmann

I'm OK, I'm Pig

Kim Hyesoon

Black Juice

Margo Lanagan

Loop of Jade

Sarah Howe

The Book of Proper Names

Amelie Nothomb

How the Dead Live

Will Self

The Well of Trapped Words

Sema Kaygusuz

Cold Sea Stories

Pawel Huelle

The Ladies of Grace Adieu

Susanna Clarke

Such Small Hands

Andrés Barba

Beneath Black Stars

Martin Chalmers

We Are Made of Diamond Stuff

Isabel Waidner

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

Patricia Lockwood

The Last Children of Tokyo

Yoko Tawada

Florida

Lauren Groff

Self-Control

Stig Saeterbakken

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

Vincent Lam

Foster

Claire Keegan

A Lone Walk

Gul Y Davis

My Father was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water

Michelle Steinbeck

Greenfly

Tom Lee

Vinland the Dream

Kim Stanley Robinson

Other People's Fathers

Romana Petri

The Wasting Game

Philip Gross

Ridin an Risin

Jacob Ross and Andrea Enisuoh (eds)

The Stone Thrower

Adam Marek

Crushed Mexican Spiders

Tibor Fischer

One More for the Road

Ray Bradbury

The Velocity Gospel

Steve Aylett

The Vanishing

Tim Krabbe

Echoland

Per Petterson

Quilt

Nicholas Royle

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Brock Clarke

We the Animals

Justin Torres

I am the Brother of XX

Fleur Jaeggy

The Beautifully Worthless

Ali Liebegott

In

Andrew Waterhouse

Chewing Gum

Mansour Bushnaf

Gaza Blues

Etgar Keret and Samur El-Youssef

Notes for a War Story

Gipi &nbsp

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

Amy Bloom

Portrait of My Lover as a Horse

Selima Hill

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

David Eagleman

My Phantom Husband

Marie Darrieussecq

The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches

Gaetan Soucy

Weatherman

Anthony Cropper