Palace of Desire Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Palace of Desire

"Palace of Desire" is the second of three novels in the Cairo Trilogy by the 1988 Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. The story centers on the two remaining sons;Yasin and Kamal.Kamal struggles with his father over the choice of his university studies: he wishes to become a teacher and writer of philosophy, while his father wants him to pursue a career in law.
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    Yasin earns the disapproval of his father over the divorce he is forced to grant to his pregnant first wife because of his rape of this wife's maid in their living quarters.Yasin follows a life of lust ; after the divorce, he marries the fiancee of his dead brother, Maryam, over the objections of his stepmother, Amina, who remembers Maryam's love of a British soldier.

    Yasin proves unfaithful to Maryam who demans a divorce after Yasin brings hoje his lover, the lute-player, Zanuba, who is presently his father's mistress. They make love in Yasin's living room, awakening Maryam who screams and throws him out.
    The family's vicissitudes are a metaphor for Egypt's struggles in the years from WWI to the thirties, when the government forms a parliamentary democracy. However, the novel ends with the dissolution of the government and the demoralisation of the family.
The review of this Book prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson

Chapter Analysis of Palace of Desire

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Father (or standin)    -   Son    -   Sister    -   Husband Family, loving relations    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   father Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Main char. serviced by prostitute?    -   Yes Lover is    -   of a different social class Pearls of wisdom from homeless?    -   Yes Unmarried Love Triangle?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student    -   trader Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Arab Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Arabic Africa City?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Vagia talk!    -   rape/molest Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Naguib Mahfouz Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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