The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

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

Details The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

TitleThe Last Watchman of Old Cairo
Release DateMar 13th, 2018
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Northern Africa, Egypt, Literature, Jewish, Cultural, Africa

Reviews The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

  • Carol
    Last Watchman of Cairo tells its story via three loosely related threads and timelines. In contemporaneous America, the Muslim Egyptian father of Joseph – the last watchman referenced in the title -- has died, and he has had a friend deliver to Joseph a keepsake without explanation. Joseph, raised exclusively by his Jewish Egyptian (by birth) mother in the US, had a cordial relationship with his father, at least until his father learned Joseph ...
  • Elyse
    “The Oracle of Stamboul”, written by Michael David Lukas — published in 2011—his debut....was sooooo wonderful- I was speechless to express how much I loved his novel. It’s still a very special book to me - one I read with my daughter...with so many fond memories. I remember the story as if I read it yesterday. The writing is gorgeous. It was a joy to meet Michael years back and hear him talk about his book. I learned of ‘this’ book...
  • Margitte
    I went into this book with no idea what to expect. Although it was a very busy time, actually an insanely hectic time, I managed to read a few pages in between. From the blurb: 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 generatio...
  • Tammy
  • Kai
    "Love never dies, it is only diverted."I don't think I would ever have come across this beautiful book if PRH International had not given me the opportunity to read it. The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a lush tale about a family of watchmen in Cairo dating back many centuries. It is a tale about two sisters on the hunt for a legendary scroll and a student trying to trace back the roots of his family.The story starts off strong. The reader is int...
  • Aditi
    “The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” ----Antoine François PrévostMichael David Lukas, an American bestselling author, has penned a compelling historical fiction called, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo that revolves around an American part-Jewish-part-Muslim student exploring the roots of his father's side family in Cairo where his father's forefathers used to be the watchman of an ancient synagogue, protecting its secrets a...
  • Michael
    If I am not for myself who will be for me?
  • Amy
    4.5 stars. I really super enjoyed this read about a half Jewish half Muslim, 100% Egyptian young man who is the son of the Last Watchman of Old Cairo, a tradition spanning hundreds of years and centuries. Written from three perspectives in time, this gem of a book intertwines questions and situations and tensions from each time period that culminate in the mysteries of the present. So looking forward to hearing what others think about its interes...
  • Bandit
    Time for some armchair traveling. This time not only geographically, but temporally, with this lovely work of historical fiction revolving (via three interconnected timelines) around a legendary Torah scroll. Back in the day when Egyptians might have been somewhat more tolerant, there was a thriving Jewish community there, eventually forced to flee the country during the foreign cleansing of 1956. There was a magnificent synagogue and watched ove...
  • B.T. Mienoré
    This is just a sweet novel, with a Judaica and historical angle that I found compelling enough that I finished this in a day. At the center of the book is the ancient Ibn Ezra synagogue in Cairo, and we get three stories that revolve around this building. First and second, the narrator Joseph traces his family's connections to the synagogue, which stretch over generations back to an ancestor story. Third, we have the story of twin sisters who, wi...
  • Melissa Dee
    I loved the mixing of old Egypt, colonial Egypt and modern Egypt, woven together like a tapestry. “A fragmented account of fathers and sons, cousins and strangers, grief, forgiveness and forbidden love. This lovely novel brings to life a family of guardians and their stories.
  • Annette
    This book interweaves two present stories of Joseph and two sisters, with one past story of Ali – Joseph’s ancestor.As the story builds up, it is interesting. But as soon as it reaches its peak, it starts falling apart very fast.Joseph is a literature student at Berkley and a son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. After the death of his father, he receives a scrap of paper. He doesn’t understand the meaning of the scroll. One day, on a...
  • Jackie Wisherd
    The book was most enjoyable to read. The author knew his subject well and wrote with great passion. People who enjoy reading about multi-cultural stories will like this book. It is the al-Raqb family history of the men through thousands of years of being the watchmen for the Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo.
  • Nikola
    Make sure to enter my giveaway of a signed copy on my Instagram page!You can also find this review on my book blog. When it comes to this book what I fell for was the cover because if you look at it you will fall in love with it too. The synopsis of this book is the second thing that drew me because it sounds so mysterious and I love that it’s set in Egypt.The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a story about a young man called Joseph who receives a...
  • Rachel Levy
    This is a wonderfully written story about Cairo and its Jewish community told through three alternating timelines. I loved the mixing of ancient Egypt, colonial Egypt and modern Egypt, all woven together like a colorful tapestry. A thousand years in the past, a Muslim, Ali al-Rahq, becomes the first watchman of the Ibn Ezra Synagogue. He is charged with protecting thousands of documents in the synagogue's genizah, storage area. Also hidden away t...
  • Nada Hosny
    when you protect something, no matter what it is, it becomes your own. How satisfying is it to read a book based in your country?OMG YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA!okay or maybe you do, but i didn’t! i really didn’t this is the first time i have ever read a book that’s based in my country. I AM IN LOVVVEEEEEEEEEEEE!the author has put so much work into writing this book, the references and the places that was mentioned, he didn’t just visit Egypt ...
  • Gaele
    Joseph is the son of Egyptian parents, born and raised in the United States. His mother, an Egyptian Jew, left Cairo in the 1950’s with her family, but as a child had befriended Ahmed al-Raqb, eldest son of the watchman at the Ibn Ezra Synagogue, an inherited position handed down from father to eldest son for over a millennium. A graduate student at Berkeley, news of his father’s death is followed by a small package containing a note, a busin...
  • Rebecca D'Harlingue
    In The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, Lukas masterfully weaves together three time periods, whose stories connect through a family mystery that is traced back a thousand years before the contemporary narrator. Each of the narrative threads is populated by characters who are peculiar to their time, and who fit perfectly within the specific Cairo in which they find themselves.We care about these characters, whose struggles we identify with, no matter ...
  • Lori
    "The Last Watchman of Old Cairo" was a captivating read. It follows a family who are the caretakers for a temple in Cairo!
  • Julie Barnard
    Unfortunately this doesn’t publish until next year, but it.’s definitely worth adding to your TBR list. Well-written book about Jews and Muslims in Cairo.
  • Chaitra
    It took me an embarrassing amount of time to finish this book. It has a low page count and it's well spaced, so I have no excuse. It's adequate for what it is, and it started off promisingly, but I don't think it came together as well as it could have. The book is told in three different perspectives - two historical and one contemporary - and deals with a supposedly magical Torah written by the Prophet Ezra, which might or might not be hidden in...
  • Eyleen
    I received a review copy of this book from PRH International. All opinions are my own.The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is far from my usual genre of young adult/fantasy and it says a lot that I still enjoyed it immensely!This is a story that is hard to pinpoint. It's partly a coming-of-age-story, it's also a bit of a mystery book, it's partly historical fiction, it deals with family, tolerance and finding your place in the world and it does all thi...
  • Abantika(hiltonjenkin)
    The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas is truly a fascinating book. It wonderfully explores the cultural history of the city and has a great mix of race and religion. It's about an American guy trying to find his Persian roots.With authentic facts it is a fiction that feels like non fiction.The author provides us with such vivid descriptions of Cairo, that you can almost feel the wind and smell the opium.
  • Rachel
    Three different narratives - from three different time periods - that all connect to the Cairo Genizah. A fast, easy, interesting, and compelling novel that might motivate me to explore a non-fiction book on the subject.
  • Hermien
    Almost 5 stars. I had read a book about the removal of the Cairo Geniza to Cambridge so particularly enjoyed this element of the story.
  • Mal Warwick
    Over the centuries, the relationship between Jews and Moslems has often shifted from intimacy to bitter enmity. In fact, historically, Moslems have been far friendlier to Jews than have Christians. The vitriol spewing out from Islamic extremists today is the most extreme example of the hostility directed at Jews. In my experience, Moslems who are just trying to live their lives in peace have no problem living next door to Jews. In Michael David L...
  • Juliawildschut
    This is such a wonderful book. I learnt a lot about the history of religion in Cairo and about the Jewish religion. The story is a mix of realistic and fairy tale-like plots and all the stories come together beautifully.
  • Ray
    charming, really enjoyed this
  • Diogenes
    Captivating story of a young man's search for his identity, his father's roots in Egypt and the meaning of his name through ancient documents. Insightful, poignant and highly entertaining; a mixture of history and fiction that handles Muslim and Jewish differences with rare sensitivity.