May 11, 2019 posted by

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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Trained as a dentist in Egypt and Chicago, it took him 9 years to earn his degree from Chicago National University where he spent 17 years in his life, al-Aswany has contributed numerous articles to Egyptian newspapers on literature, politics, and social issues.

When he was 37, he married Eman Taymoor and they had two daughters, Mai and Nada. Al Aswany has a Dickensian sense of character, aswqny one will not easily forget the ghastly Ahmad Danana, who runs the Egyptian Students’ Union in Chicago, where the book is set. Lotte rated it liked it Jan 30, There are also several break-ups here, and sex — often of the forced, or at least coerced variety — plays a role in some of them as well.

Nagi Abd al-Samad, an Egyptian student at Illinois, engages in both histology and poetry.

Al Aswany overlaps slices of the daily acts of his myriad characters who are linked to one another through a shared place. Unfortunately, too, the sex descriptions are generally of the very cringe-inducing sort: Danana stands in contrast to an appealing mathematician, Nagi Abd al-Samad, who reveals himself wonderfully in his journal, as when he writes: Shayma a rural girl at her 30’s yet unmarried pursue an intimate relationship with Tariq.

The cast of characters is a large one, and Chicago weaves together their various stories – too many of them, perhaps. Indeed, in taking his characters out of their native environment he is able to focus on Egyptian issues and ways particularly well.

Between two worlds

Raffat Thabet hates Arab culture and loves America however starts leaning to his backward Egyptian views as his daughter Sarah moves out with her boyfriend. Aaa was born on 26 May Retrieved from ” https: Judyta marked it as to-read Mar 30, Yet his new novel, Chicago: In fact, so much of the American detail he offers, from his cartoon Chicago to faculty meetings to decide chicato a student should be admitted or not “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 aswzny in the way one might expect an author who had read about a foreign country but never visited it to get it — that one has to suspect that Aswany who has studied in America is actually writing down to his Egyptian audience, meeting their expectations zlaa America — this aswwany how they imagine it — rather than trying to present an accurate picture of it.


The city saw tragedy again with the fire ofand the subsequent ability of the “Second City” to reinvent itself mirrors the experience of many Americans who first arrive from elsewhere. Sex is by far the biggest motive that drives the characters to make their life-changing decisions and probably to justify them later on.

Her job-seeking efforts are conducted exclusively through newspaper classifieds, and both her plight and her methods seem anachronistic and over-simplified.

Some unravel before he can tie them up, some are just abruptly and rather shockingly brought to an endand so this isn’t a satisfyingly rounded-off book. Want to Read saving…. But Chicago is written for an Egyptian audience first, and any inconsistencies that consequently arise do not detract from its author’s empathy for even his most unpleasant characters.

His second novel, The Yacoubian Buildingan ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Then, he wrote a weekly article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk.

Sep 15, Meron Semere rated it it was amazing. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.


Shayma, Tarriq, and Nagbi were the students admitted into the phd histology program. Bianca marked it as to-read Sep 29, Chicago isn’t a very good book, but there’s enough to it — and too few others like it from that region — to make it worthwhile. 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.

Magdalena added it Oct 15, It’s an effective story-telling technique, and along with the storylines he develops helps get over the relatively crude writing.

Chicago is his second bestseller and has been followed by a collection of short stories called Friendly Fire. Chiara Longo rated it liked it Sep 01, Thanks for telling us about the problem. I haven’t read any criticism of it, and it was recommended to me by a trusted reader not on this site In the mix of characters living in the building one found, for instance, an extravagant playboy, a gay intellectual, and a devout Islamic fundamentalist.

Egypt’s Years of Revolution”.

Chicago – Alaa Al Aswany

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Life inAmerica, Nagi, is like American fruit: I just don’t like the narrator voice Bella Yagolkovskaya marked it as to-read Dec 15, I am on chapter 4 and struggling with this book.

Also it described the Hijab as reactionary due to the Wahhabi influence on Egypt. Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world. From Wikipedia, the asany encyclopedia. The locale of the Novel is University of Illinois at Chicago where the writer did his postgraduate studies.