The novelist Alaa Al Aswany places his emigré characters in post-9/11 Chicago. chicago has 11 ratings and 2 reviews. Meron said: I loved this book! First of all it was amazing reading about the historical context of post 9/11 Americ. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany.

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And it’s even worse than that: An impending visit by the president of Egypt produces all sorts of plot possibilities, setting off a good aewany of subterfuge. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

I just don’t like the narrator voice Egypt’s “president” and his “National Party,” are never named directly in the novel, but wl impending arrival in Chicago catapults a series of events that directly and indirectly brings about the tragic downfall of the novel’s characters, and the U. Aswany does not shy away from sex.

Retrieved 3 January Jan chicqgo, Okidoki rated it it was ok. Nagbi a student who wants to start a revolution to turn Egypt into a democracy will cause problems in his personal life.

Judyta marked it as to-read Mar 30, Amanda Hasan marked it as to-read Jul 01, The soap-opera plot includes one doctor losing his daughter to drug addiction, but everywhere sex is one of the big problems including in that case, where, of course, it was the bohemian artist-boyfriend that introduced the lass to hard drugs.

Fatima Hasan rated it liked it Aug 18, The spectre of an embarrassing political protest, for example, excites the “arrogant and suspicious” Safwat Shakir, a sleazy government agent with a military background and one of the least likeable actors in Al Aswany’s motley troupe. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hermione Laake is currently reading it Nov 21, This article needs additional citations for verification.

The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Vicki rated it liked it Oct 24, Particularly appealing about the novel is the forthrightness with which Aswany addresses the issue of Egypt’s contemporary political corruption and decay; the name of the leader that’s at the rotting head of this administration, Hosni Mubarak, is never mentioned, but he is often and unmistakably referred to, and one of the central occurrences in the book is a state visit that takes him to Chicago.


There are some nice zingers against current Egyptian conditions, including: Danana is president of the Student Union’s of Egyptians in America and quite involved with the admitted Egyptian students at the university. Professor Graham is married to a younger black woman and their relationship is a moving target for intolerance.

May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Cuicago author drew each portrait with a bravado that was something new under the Middle Eastern sun. About Alaa Al Aswany.

Alaa Al Aswany’s “Chicago” – Words Without Borders

The novel was made into a blockbuster film instarring heavyweights Adel Imam and Omar Sharif. Like what you read? Danny Stornig marked it as to-read Oct 30, Sara Mazzoni marked it as to-read Jun 28, That compulsively readable book, which became a massive bestseller in Arabic, focused on a once grand but now decaying building in central Cairo; it was set during the Gulf war and offered a microcosm of Egyptian society.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Salah left his girlfriend Zeinab to aawany to America in the 70’s however his marriage with his American wife faces problems.

There are also several break-ups here, and sex — often of the forced, or at least coerced variety — plays a chocago in some of them as well. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany | Books | The Guardian

In fact, so much of the American detail he offers, from his cartoon Chicago to faculty meetings to decide whether a student should be admitted or vhicago “Anyone who fulfills the requirements of the department is entitled to enroll” is definitely not the rule of thumb for the limited spots in American graduate school science departmentsis so wrong — and exactly wrong in the way one might expect an author who had read about a foreign country but never visited it to get it — chiacgo one has to suspect that Aswany who has studied in America is actually writing down to his Egyptian audience, meeting their expectations of America — this is how they imagine it — rather than trying to present an accurate picture of it.


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Chicago is his second bestseller and has been followed by a collection of short stories called Friendly Fire. Lotte rated it liked it Jan 30, The colleagues, chicxgo, and students in unforeseeable Chicago don’t know that their lives will intersect for the better unexpectedly. Al-Aswany was in Tahrir Square each of the 18 days before Mubarak fell from power.

Between two worlds

Their storylines chicagl connected through the Department of Histology at the University of Illinois, and histology—the microscopic study of cross-sections of biological tissues—offers a fitting analogy for Al Aswany’s narrative technique: However, Al-Aswany was banned from attending the premiere. Chicago, his eagerly awaited second novel, is not as interesting or fully realised as the first, but has undeniable charms of its own. In fact, it is the government toady and informant, Ahmad Danana, the head of the Egyptian Student Union in America, who is by far the most interesting character — in no small part because he is mainly occupied aswnay various machinations, instead of his studies, and Aswany isn’t particularly good on academic life but has fun ideas as far cjicago go.

Alaa Al Aswany is among the best writers in the Middle East today, a suitable heir to the mantle worn by Naguib Mahfouz, his great predecessor, whose influence is felt on every page.