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(2013) In his shortest short stories, the Egyptian Nobel literature laureate reduced the fictional form to its most essential level, while retaining his justifiably famous mastery of the storytelling art. A man finds that all the streets in his neighborhood have turned into a circus—but his joy at the sight changes to anger when he sees he cannot escape it anywhere, even in his own home. A group of lifelong friends meet to trade jokes in a familiar alley—only to face a sudden, deadly flood that echoes the revenge taken by an ancient Egyptian queen upon the men who murdered her husband. A girl from the dreamer’s childhood flies with him from his native lane on a cart drawn by a winged horse, to become a star in the firmament above the Great Pyramid. Such is the stuff of Naguib Mahfouz’s The Dreams—his only major work after a knife attack by a religious fanatic in 1994 left him unable to write for several years. First serialized in a Cairo magazine, The Dreams are a unique and haunting mixture of the deceptively quotidian, the seductively lyrical, and the savagely nightmarish—the richly condensed sum of more than nine decades of artistic genius and everyday experience.