Midaq Alley


Each character is expressed like a caricature in which one quality or trait is over-emphasized. Mahfouz is not satirizing the individual character – he is satirizing the character type.

  • Kirsha, a café owner who illegally sells and uses hashish and has a predilection for young boys
  • Mrs. Kirsha, infamous for her temper
  • Uncle Kamil, good-hearted, bachelor sweets-seller, famously bloated and sleepy
  • Abbas, a young, kindly barber who wants to get married, joins the British army to make money to be able to marry Hamida
  • Salim Alwan, the wealthy businessman who is embittered after surviving a heart attack
  • Dr. Booshy, the self-proclaimed dentist who sells false teeth at dirt-cheap prices by stealing them off dead bodies
  • Sanker, the waiter at Kirsha's café
  • Sheikh Darwish, the old poet and former English teacher, who left his former life to roam the streets.
  • Radwan Hussainy, a landlord who beats his wife and failed his al-Azhar exams, yet is revered for his high degree of education and devotion to God. He has lost all of his children.
  • Hussain Kirsha, son of the café owner who works for the British. He marries a woman of lower class and returns home with her and her brother.
  • Saniya Afify, widowed landlady who desires to remarry
  • Umm Hamida, the neighborhood matchmaker and bath attendant; Hamida's foster mother
  • Hamida, a beautiful young woman who dreams of a better life and has a distinctly self-centered personality, but is easily persuaded by wealth or power.
  • Husniya, the bakeress who beats her husband with her slipper
  • Jaada, Husniya's husband
  • Zaita, the cripple maker who lives outside the bakery and aids Dr. Booshy in his theft of false teeth.
  • Ibrahim Farhat, a politician
  • Ibrahim Faraj, a pimp
  • The Poet, who is replaced by a radio and is barred by Kirsha (only appears in the first chapter)

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