The Day the Leader was Killed

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The Day the Leader was Killed
Author Naguib Mahfouz
Original title يوم مقتل الزعيم
Translator Malak. Mashem
Country Egypt
Language Arabic
Genre Novel
Publisher Doubleday Eng. trans.
Publication date
1983
Published in English
1987
Media type Print (Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 978-0-385-49922-4 (Eng. trans. paperback edition)
OCLC 43499501
892.7/36 21
LC Class PJ7846.A46 Y3813 2000

The Day the Leader was Killed (orig. Arabic يوم مقتل الزعيم) is a novel written and published by Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz in 1983.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel follows multiple narratives written in the stream of consciousness format. The novel is set during the early 1980s whilst Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was introducing the infitah or open door free-market economic policies which led to widespread unrest. The plot revolves around a young Egyptian man who is in love with a co-worker, but her father will not permit their marriage because the young man cannot earn enough money to purchase and furnish an apartment. Eventually their engagement is called off, and the woman is engaged to their boss. In a fit of rage and despair, the protagonist murders his boss on the same day that Sadat is assassinated by terrorists, and the two narratives are intertwined. Hearing the news of the President's death is the catalyst for the protagonist's decision to kill his employer. The grandfather of the protagonist reflects on the generational gap in Egypt throughout the novel.

Like many of Mahfouz's novels, the book uses Egyptian history and society to analyze universal themes such as the relationship between love and economics, familiar relationships, death, and the irrationality of human emotion.