In this "wonderfully rich" (San Francisco Chronicle) novel from the author of the internationally bestselling The Oracle of Stamboul, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets.
"This book is a joy."—Rabih Alameddine, author of the National Book Award finalist An Unnecessary Woman
WINNER OF: THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S SOPHIE BRODY AWARD THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD IN FICTION THE SAMI ROHR PRIZE FOR JEWISH LITERATURE Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the BBC Longlisted for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize A Penguin Random House International One World, One Book Selection Honorable Mention for the Middle East Book Award
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 centuries-old history that binds the two sides of his family.
From the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, where generations of his family served as watchmen, to the lives of British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 leave Cambridge on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue, this tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces that attempt to bridge that divide.
Moving and richly textured, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a poignant portrait of the intricate relationship between fathers and sons, and an unforgettable testament to the stories we inherit and the places we are from.
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
"Brilliant."—The Jerusalem Post