In this wonderfully rich novel, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets.
The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a tale of love, magic, family, and duty, that spans different generations and different personalities. Capturing readers all over the world, it is a story “that build bridges across widening cultural divides.” (Penguin Random House)
We have entrusted this novel to our reviewers Chris and Katya, both of whom have pored through the pages of this novel with careful eyes and open hearts. Read their thoughts below, and get a chance to win your own copy of The Last Watchman of Old Cairo!
A three-in-one treat
Chris says: [The Last Watchman of Old Cairo] is a triptych of three stories from different eras hinged together by the protection, search, and mysteries of the famed Ezra Scroll, considered the most perfect Torah scroll produced without flaw or innovation. […] Separately read, the three stories might feel small and self-contained, but such is the power of the reader that we are granted an omniscient view of the three stories. Each of their stories, their decisions, and their mistakes, each moment in their lives inform the lives of others.
Katya says: The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a multi-generational novel that tells us three vastly different stories: Joseph in modern-day Cairo; his ancestor Ali, who lived over a thousand years ago; and twin researchers Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson in 1897, who bravely went places where women couldn’t go. […] It is a tenderly written coming of age story that takes its time guiding you through centuries of faith, stories, and secrets.
An unconventional page-turner
Chris says: The search for the Ezra Scroll and its contents […] feels like the premise of a conspiracy thriller, but Lukas is not interested in what the Ezra Scroll possibly contains that could change humanity forever. He is interested about the journey, about the passage of time, and how we are a product of everything and everyone that came before us. There is no real suspense here […] yet I felt myself on edge every time and kept turning the pages of the book to know more about these characters.
Katya says: Though The Last Watchman tries to tell three stories—two of them fictional, one of them real—as beautifully as possible, the pace never quite picks up, which makes the novel lack intensity, urgency, and a compelling emotional connection. Despite this, Lukas portrays love across generations, cultures, and genders sensitively, especially the struggle of love versus duty, and how love can flourish from or without it.
Chris says: The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a mesmerizing, lyrical work of art. […] It is the beauty of literature, and of this book, to give us a perspective that is otherwise lost to us in our everyday life.
Katya says: Readers aware of the nuances of Jewish-Muslim relations will appreciate it most, but anyone with an open mind and a patient heart will enjoy this story of family, history, and love in all its forms.
Get a chance to win a copy of The Last Watchman of Old Cairo!
Chris has written on Wattpad, yellowpads, and notepads. He works as a Systems Administrator by day and a recluse at night. Read his full review here.
Katya has had a torrid romance with fiction for over two decades, and sneaks out in the middle of the day for clandestine rendezvous in cafés. She works in advertising and has four poodles. Read her full review here.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]