From the New York Times:
Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian novelist, playwright and screenwriter who won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature and was widely regarded as the Arab world’s foremost novelist, died yesterday in Cairo. He was 94.
If you haven’t read Mahfouz’s “Cairo Trilogy”, (and I suppose the odds are you haven’t), I would highly recommend doing so. The books provide one with an interesting insight into Islamic culture and allows one to see just how foreign even moderate Islam is to Western minds without presenting it in an inherently negative manner.
And beyond that, they’re just good books. There’s something about his sense detachment that vaguely reminds me of Herman Hesse, but I actually don’t know why.
Jay Nordlinger of National Review adds this: I have much to say about Naguib Mahfouz, the great novelist who died yesterday, and I will say it in the forthcoming National Review. Suffice it to say that his Cairo Trilogy provided one of the greatest, richest, most satisfying fictional reading experiences of my life.