In Respected Sir, Mahfouz retells a familiar theme—vaulting ambition—in a powerful and religious metaphor. Othman Bayuumi’s humble origins do not stop him from coveting the Director-Generalship of the governmental department he has entered as an archives clerk. It is a vision that becomes a lifelong pursuit, superseding all other interests or people in his life. What is essentially a prosaic experience becomes—in Mahfouz’s hands—a beautifully crafted story of an exalted and arduous holy quest.
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. His nearly forty novels and hundreds of short stories range from re-imaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Of his… More about Naguib Mahfouz