Love in the Rain
by Mahfouz, Naguib
Set in Cairo in the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967, Love in the Rain introduces us to an assortment of characters who, each in his or her own way, comes face to face with the questions raised by human weakness and misfortune. The war and its casualties, as well as people’s foibles and the tragedies they create for themselves, raise existential questions about the existence of God, whether there is really order in the universe, and what certainty can be had not only militarily, but economically, socially and morally. In a frank, sensitive treatment of everything from patriotism to prostitution, homosexuality and lesbianism, Love in the Rain presents a struggle between “old” and “new” in the realm of moral values that leaves the future in doubt. Through the dilemmas and heartbreaks faced by his protagonists, Mahfouz exposes the hypocrisy of those who condemn any breach of sexual morality while turning a blind eye to violence, corruption, and oppression, double standards as applied to men’s and women’s sexuality, and the folly of an exclusive focus on sexual morals without reference to other aspects of human character.