Children of Gebelawi
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|Children of Gabalawi|
|Original title||أولاد حارتنا|
|Translator||Philip Stewart 1981
Peter Theroux 1999
|Publication date||1959 (translation 13 April 1981)|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||355 p. (paperback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-435-90225-3 (paperback edition)|
Children of Gabalawi, (أولاد حارتنا) is a novel by the Egyptian writer and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. It is also known by its Egyptian dialectal transliteration, Awlad Haretna, formal Arabic transliteration, Awlaadu Haaratena and by the alternative translated transliteral Arabic title of "Children of Our Alley".
It was originally published in Arabic in 1959, in serialised form, in the Cairo daily Al-Ahram. It was met with severe opposition from religious authorities, and publication in the form of a book was banned in Egypt.
It was first printed in Lebanon in 1967. An English translation by Philip Stewart was published in 1981 and is still in print; when Stewart refused to sell his copyright, Doubleday commissioned a new version by Peter Theroux.
It was this book that earned Naguib Mahfouz condemnation from Omar Abdul-Rahman in 1989, after the Nobel Prize had revived interest in it. As a result, in 1994 – a day after the anniversary of the prize – Mahfouz was attacked and stabbed in the neck by two extremists outside his Cairo home. Fortunately, Mahfouz survived the accident, yet he suffered from its consequences till his last day.
The story recreates the tied history of the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), allegorised against the setting of an imaginary 19th century Cairene neighborhood.
Gabalawi being an allegory for religion in general, the first four sections retell, in succession, the stories of: Adam (Adham أدهم) and how he was favored by Gabalawi over the latter's other sons, including Satan/Iblis (Idris إدريس); Moses (Gabal جبل); Jesus (Rifa'a رفاعة); and Muhammad (Qasim قاسم). Families of each son settle in different parts of the alley, symbolising Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The protagonist of the book's fifth section is Arafa (عرفة), who symbolises modern science and, significantly, comes after all prophets, while all of their followers claim Arafa as one of their own.
- 1981, UK, Heinemann ISBN 0-435-99415-8 Pub date 1981, paperback (as Children of Gabalawi - Stewart's translation)
- 1981, UK, Heinemann Educ. ISBN 0-435-90225-3 Pub date 13 April 1981, paperback (as Children of Gabalawi - Stewart's translation)
- 1996, USA, Doubleday ISBN 0-385-42094-3, Pub date 1996, hardback (as Children of the Alley -Theroux's translation)
- 1997, USA, Passeggata Press, ISBN 0-89410-818-2, Pub date 1997, paperback (as Children of Gabalawi - Stewart's version revised)
- Hafez, Sabry: "Introduction" to The Cairo Trilogy. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2001. pg xxxiv.
- Hafez, op. cit., pg. xlii.
1. Children of Gabalaawi, 1997 edition (referenced above), introduction, pp. vii-xxv.