Jan 2, The novelist Alaa Al Aswany places his emigré characters in post-9/11 Chicago. Chicago (Arabic: شيكاغو Shīkāgū) is a novel by Egyptian author Alaa-Al- Aswany. Published in Arabic in and in an English translation in The locale. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany.

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Between two worlds

The theme of political repression is interesting in light of last year’s Arab Spring and the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. One storyline – in which an expatriate heart surgeon is asked to return to Egypt chicagi save the life of a patient, who just happens to be the man who failed a,aa at medical college solely on political grounds – is especially colourful.

He writes, in the style of a Wikipedia entry by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky, about the wretched fates of the Native American peoples who once flourished in Chicago. From Alaa Al Aswany, the author of the highly-acclaimed Chlcago Yacoubian Building, comes a story of love, sex, friendship, hatred, and ambition set in the midwestern city chjcago a cast of American and Arab characters achingly human in their desires and needs.

In the most poignant storyline, Dr Salah, a middle-aged, Egyptian-born professor, wakes up one morning after 30 years in Chicago with a devastating feeling of regret at having abandoned his country all that time ago. I don’t want to take you from work. Ra’fat Thabit, an Egyptian-American professor at the University of Illinois Medical School, has burrowed deep into American culture, but finds his identity threatened after his rebellious daughter falls under the sway of a shady boyfriend.

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. Among Al Aswany’s other memorable characters aswwany Shaymaa Muhammadi, who is “over thirty, still unmarried because her position as instructor in the College of Medicine has greatly reduced chicagl chances, since Eastern men usually prefer that their wives be less educated than they”.


Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The picture chicaago Islamic culture that this book paints is perhaps, from an American perspective, the most interesting aspect of the book.

Open Preview See a Problem? Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. But if he were destined, just once, to cross to the other side aswajy to walk among them, he would see one of them writing letters to his wife, another looking at his children’s photos, and a third shaving and humming a tune. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants.

Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany – Telegraph

It is divided into many sections, each one a fascinating read. As his new wife soon discovers, he has miserly and selfish tendencies. There are writers and there are storytellers. Al Aswany overlaps slices of the daily acts of his myriad characters who are linked to one another through a shared place.

His masterstroke in Chicago is to extract his characters from the comfort of their own cultures. Mihaela rated aaswany really liked it Jul 08, It’s an explosive mix, with some end up with more than they bargained for.

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No trivia or quizzes yet. Nagi Abd al-Samad, an Egyptian student at Illinois, engages in both histology and poetry. It has been translated into English, Danish, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Greek and Dutch, and was adapted into a film and a television series of the same name. Despite this, Chicago is a much less comfortable read. 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.

Al Aswany has a Dickensian sense of character, and one will not easily forget the ghastly Ahmad Danana, who runs the Egyptian Students’ Union in Chicago, where the book is set. Is this an unreliable narrator as with The Reluctant Fundamentalist? Jan 03, Okidoki rated it it was ok.

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

This page was last edited on 4 Decemberat Salah left his girlfriend Zeinab to immigrate to America in the 70’s however his marriage with his American wife faces problems. Her job-seeking efforts are conducted exclusively through newspaper classifieds, and both her plight and her methods seem anachronistic and over-simplified. Nagi, expelled from his university chicaggo Cairo for his politics, causes another form of strife in Chicago when his credentials and nationality ignite a heated debate among the faculty reviewing his application for admission.


Alqa rated it liked it Nov 11, Ed King is impressed by this American-based follow-up to an Egyptian bestseller. Return to Book Page.

We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The issues covered in the personal problems of the character include everything from the treatment of the Coptic minority in Egypt which forced one character to abandon the career he originally had hoped to pursue and the expectations of female virtue outside of marriage to the long reach of the Egyptian secret police.

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. Having read the Yacoubian Building, I was interest in this new book and I think that it is good to read “Chicago”.

Salah left I loved this book! Unfortunately, too, the sex descriptions are generally of the very cringe-inducing sort: Juventino is currently reading it Oct 23, In the mix of characters living in the building one found, for instance, an extravagant playboy, a gay intellectual, and a devout Islamic fundamentalist.

Again, the novel is interesting for its frank and guileless insights into Muslim culture, but it is not a very good novel. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation.

ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. I am on chapter 4 and struggling with this book. Showing of 51 reviews.