Bahgat al hakaya, ala khota Naguib Mahfouz (The Joy of the Tale: On the path of Naguib Mahfouz), Ammar Ali Hassan, Cairo: Dar Al-Hilal, 2012
This new release by the political analyst, novelist and critic Ammar Ali Hassan, is a critical review written over a long period of time, offering the reader insights on the issues of literature and creativity.
In the introduction, Hassan says, "May the reader find within this book some benefit in appreciating and understanding the deeper meanings behind some of the literary texts, together with the beautiful aspects richly displayed for minds and hearts."
The book starts with an analysis of the literature of Naguib Mahfouz as the Grand Master of the Arabic novel, with multiple links to his successors through direct influence or just inspiration.
The author follows this with some critical reviews of some novels and stories of Egyptian writers belonging to various schools, like Bahaa Taher, Ibrahim Abdel-Meguidb, Mohamed Nagui, Salwa Bakr and others, offering the reader a spectrum of Egyptian creativity over the past years.
The reader will note that the author follows the same methodology throughout, not just pausing at what is being read, but subjecting the text to analytical tools to bring out the values, imagery, deeper meanings and overall context.
Hassan says, "I decided not to limit my relation to literature to just creating stories and novels, but extend it to reading what teachers and colleagues write, criticising it with love and devotion."
This is the 24th book by Ammar Ali Hassan, after 8 novels, and 16 books on political sociology, criticism and Sufism. He's the winner of a number of awards, including the State Excellence award in social sciences, and the Tayeb Saleh award for short stories.