First published in 1985, ‘The day the leader was killed’ is set against the backdrop of an important era in Egypt’s history- the Sadat regime. During his term as president, Anwar al Sadat made many changes but most eminent was the introduction of the infitah, an open door economic policy that led to the rise of wealthy citizens but proved detrimental to the middle class and working poor. In this lyrical novel, Naguib examines its impact on ordinary middle class families.
Naguib Mahfouz is a member of a very small and elite club: that of African Nobel Laureates in Literature. His most famous work is the The Cairo Trilogy, of which Palace of Desire is the second book. Mahfouz paints a rich picture of the bustling city of Cairo in the 1920s. His characters are are engaging, his stories elegantly handled, and he manages within one family to examine some of the great questions of life.