Given the dominance of the realist tradition in Egyptian literature, it is no surprise that Cairo, whether it is the historic city or the modern metropolis, should be the main metaphor for much of the literary production during the twentieth century. Urban space, for the writers of the city, has been a major architect of its social, economic and political fabric. At one level, the city of Cairo emerges as an actor with real agency that embodies and structures social power as well as political, economic and symbolic processes. Cairo is not simply a physical presence which writers reproduce. Rather, the city is a construct that continues to be reinvented by these writers, each according to his or her experiential eye and personal encounter with it. As the writers come to represent the city in literature, they, in turn, become architects of the history of Cairo, whose literary works reconstruct and remap the city.2 Cairo becomes a protagonist whose existence is indispensable for the existence of the narratives themselves, not to speak of our own reading and decoding of these narratives.