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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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. Like what you read? Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The clarity and humor with zlaa Al Aswany treats the intricacies of the characters’ relationships make Chicago a poignant and captivating read.

Between two worlds

Beneath the strident political message, Chicago is, above all, a beautifully observed collection of character studies. The writing is interesting and fast moving.

His second novel, The Yacoubian Building, an ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. The essential gift book for any pet lover – real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.

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

Juventino is currently reading chjcago Oct 23, It may not reach the heights of The Yacoubian Building, but it reveals a gifted novelist in mid-flight. But the American characters are scarcely believable, being thinly drawn caricatures who speak in a wooden manner, representing competing points of view and nothing more.

May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Sara Mazzoni marked it as to-read Jun 28, Aswany spins a decent story, most of the way, and he spins and juggles quite a few here. Sex is used as a metaphor for freedom and control, an experimental zone in which the power dynamics between mostly Egyptian women and mostly Egyptian, mostly quite chauvinistic men can be altered. To ask other readers questions about chicagoplease sign up.

Ultimately, Chicago is a truly brave work, and its translation offers Americans a provocative, vital perspective on the U. He is both a great patriot and a great author.


The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline for books. Ibticem Tlili added it Jun 05, We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. 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.

An academic department, however, is a site that brings together individuals from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds.

Chicato can provide proof of that from jurisprudence. Refresh and try again. The locale of the Novel is University of Illinois at Chicago where the writer did his postgraduate studies. Egypt’s “president” and his “National Party,” are never named directly in the novel, but his 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.

You have to be Egyotain to really understand the nuances of every word, move, thought, gesture. 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. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers.

Their paths cross during the preparations for a visit to the university from none other than the Egyptian president himself. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. 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 aswqny is often and unmistakably referred to, and one of the central occurrences in the book is a state visit that takes him to Chicago.

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 not “Anyone who fulfills the requirements of the department is entitled to enroll” is definitely not the rule of thumb for the chhicago 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 — that one has to suspect that Aswany who has studied in America is actually writing down to alza Egyptian audience, meeting their expectations of America — this is how they imagine it — rather than trying to present an accurate picture of it.


A wonderful, very, very readable and extremely well written and well organized history of America and capitalism. The novel was criticized by many Arab readers due to intensive description of the sexual life of nearly every character.

Shayma, Tarriq, and Nagbi were the students admitted into the phd histology program. A Novel on your Kindle in under a minute. Meanwhile, Shymaa Muhammadi, a medical student who wears a veil, finds her traditional values under siege when Tariq Haseeb, chicaog Egyptian med student, begins seducing her with dogged persistence.

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

Yet Al Aswany has his own magic. Open Preview See a Problem? The Automobile Club of Egypt. The cast of characters is a large one, and Chicago weaves together their various stories – too many of them, perhaps.

Chicago offers an illuminating portrait of America—a complex, often contradictory land in which triumph and failure, opportunity and oppression, licentiousness and tender love, small dramas and big dreams, coexist. As in The Yacoubian Building Aswany juggles a number of fates, presenting their ups and downs in short chapters which tend to leave the reader dangling until he returns to them a few chapters later.

Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. Menna marked it as to-read Jul 26, Long before that, the American characters are short-shrifted, portrayed in general as either racist ignoramuses or, if they’re black or progressively minded, as victims of an enduringly racist and capitalist society.