The Last Watchman of Old Cairo: A Novel

By Michael David Lukas
Read by Edoardo Ballerini

7.07 Hours 03/13/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780525528463

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In this spellbinding novel, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets. Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by The Millions Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary—perhaps magical—Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph’s family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue. The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a moving page-turner of a novel from acclaimed storyteller Michael David Lukas. This tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces—potent magic, forbidden love—that boldly attempt to bridge that divide. Praise for The Last Watchman of Old Cairo “A beautiful, richly textured novel, ambitious and delicately crafted, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is both a coming-of-age story and a family history, a wide-ranging book about fathers and sons, religion, magic, love, and the essence of storytelling. This book is a joy.”—Rabih Alameddine, author of the National Book Award finalist An Unnecessary Woman “Lyrical, compassionate and illuminating.”—BBC “Michael David Lukas has given us an elegiac novel of Cairo—Old Cairo and modern Cairo. Lukas’s greatest flair is in capturing the essence of that beautiful, haunted, shabby, beleaguered yet still utterly sublime Middle Eastern city.”—Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years “Lukas writes marvelously about Old Cairo, a city he cherishes. . . . The Last Watchman of Old Cairo delivers in polyphonic textures a timeless yet contemporary story set in ancient and modern Cairo and Berkeley.”—The San Jose Mercury News

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Summary

Summary

In this spellbinding novel, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets.

Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by The Millions

Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary—perhaps magical—Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph’s family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a moving page-turner of a novel from acclaimed storyteller Michael David Lukas. This tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces—potent magic, forbidden love—that boldly attempt to bridge that divide.

Praise for The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

“A beautiful, richly textured novel, ambitious and delicately crafted, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is both a coming-of-age story and a family history, a wide-ranging book about fathers and sons, religion, magic, love, and the essence of storytelling. This book is a joy.”—Rabih Alameddine, author of the National Book Award finalist An Unnecessary Woman

“Lyrical, compassionate and illuminating.”—BBC

“Michael David Lukas has given us an elegiac novel of Cairo—Old Cairo and modern Cairo. Lukas’s greatest flair is in capturing the essence of that beautiful, haunted, shabby, beleaguered yet still utterly sublime Middle Eastern city.”—Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years

“Lukas writes marvelously about Old Cairo, a city he cherishes. . . . The Last Watchman of Old Cairo delivers in polyphonic textures a timeless yet contemporary story set in ancient and modern Cairo and Berkeley.”—The San Jose Mercury News

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

I just finished a wonderful novel by Michael David Lukas, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo. . . . I read the first few pages and I was hooked. Jeffrey Garret, Chicago Tribune
Evocative . . . Lukas turns the Egyptian city into a tantalizingly seductive place of mystery. Publishers Weekly
Fascinating . . . Blending his fictional creations with real characters . . . Lukas creates a thoroughly credible mystery [and] an appealing family drama. Kirkus Reviews
Part mystery, part character study, yet historically accurate, this book should appeal to a broad swath of readers. Library Journal
Captivating . . . Lukas’s warmly affecting sophomore work largely examines what happens to all that life, its memories and stories, when the people experiencing it are gone. . . . Novels like Lukas’s can believe in the potential of another version of the world, whether we call it possible or magical or both. East Bay Express
Weaving together characters from medieval Cairo, Victorian Britain, and contemporary Berkeley, Michael David Lukas has crafted a rich, highly readable story. His themes—the ties between generations, between the West and Egypt, and between Jews and Muslims—are bittersweet and timely. His plot is beautifully paced, and his characters break your heart, even when they have to reach across the generations to do so. Carla Power, author of the Pulitzer finalist If the Oceans Were Ink
A beautiful, richly textured novel, ambitious and delicately crafted, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is both a coming-of-age story and a family history, a wide-ranging book about fathers and sons, religion, magic, love, and the essence of storytelling. This book is a joy. Rabih Alameddine, author of the National Book Award finalist An Unnecessary Woman
Lyrical, compassionate and illuminating. BBC
Michael David Lukas has given us an elegiac novel of Cairo—Old Cairo and modern Cairo. Lukas’s greatest flair is in capturing the essence of that beautiful, haunted, shabby, beleaguered yet still utterly sublime Middle Eastern city. Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years
Lukas writes marvelously about Old Cairo, a city he cherishes. . . . The Last Watchman of Old Cairo delivers in polyphonic textures a timeless yet contemporary story set in ancient and modern Cairo and Berkeley. The San Jose Mercury News
Of the novels set in Egypt, few if any have understood how Cairo’s place at the crossroads of many religions has broken communities’ and families’ hearts through the centuries. This novel explores the center of Cairo’s oldest places through the story of one family and their search for a mysterious artifact, and for closure. Trevor Naylor, American University in Cairo Bookstore

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Michael David Lukas

Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary scholar in Tunisia. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, and his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. He lives in Oakland, less than a mile from where he was born. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third- and fourth-graders. He is also the author of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 7.07
Audience: Adult
Language: English