Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Recently I dreamt of a conversation with the Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz. (I was introduced to Mahfouz in Cairo in real life once.)

I approached Naguib with my friend Raymond translating.

"In your book Miramar," I began, "you tell the same story repeatedly from several points of view. You tell the story of the peasant maid in the pension from the point of view of each of the male guests."

I was planning to ask if, while writing the book, Mahfouz had ever considered telling the story from the peasant maid's point of view.

I waited while Raymond translated the first part of my question.

Mahfouz nodded. "Yes!" he replied, not waiting to hear the completed question. "Perhaps the story is not entirely correct from a structural point of view but from a moral point of view, it is completely true!"

He misunderstood what I was trying to say and I didn't get to finish my question. I awoke.