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.

Author: Najora Doulrajas
Country: Kenya
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Life
Published (Last): 1 August 2011
Pages: 388
PDF File Size: 5.76 Mb
ePub File Size: 4.47 Mb
ISBN: 674-3-18053-265-7
Downloads: 91114
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Maushicage

Chicago: A Novel: Alaa Al Aswany: : Books

Since the publication of his successful debut The Yacoubian BuildingAlaa Al Aswany has become one of Egypt’s most celebrated writers, a vocal opponent to the corruption and nepotism that have characterized President Mubarek’s regime. Yet his new novel, Chicago: Their storylines are 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: Al Aswany overlaps slices of the daily acts of his myriad characters who are linked to one another through a shared place.

In The Yacoubian Buildingthat place is an apartment complex in Cairo, a microcosm of post Egypt. An academic department, however, is a site that brings together individuals from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds.

In both novels, Al Aswany illustrates that the cruelties of domesticity marital infidelities, self-destructive children are inextricable from the brutalities of larger political forces—domestic and international. Nagi Abd al-Samad, an Egyptian student at Illinois, engages in both histology and poetry. He is the only first-person narrator in the novel and therefore takes on roles of author and activist, mirroring the multitasking of Al Aswany, who is himself also a practicing dentist in Cairo.

  BCMSN 642-811 PDF

Nagi, expelled from his university in 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. Al Aswany navigates not only the mistreatment of Cairenes in the U.

He offers vivid histories for these various conflicts, beginning with the Algonquins who lived as farmers in Chicago until settlers arrived in the late seventeenth-century and massacred them in the name of God: 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.

Al Aswany was a student in Chicago in the eighties, and there are times when his descriptions are somewhat dated.

Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany – Telegraph

A white professor is involved with a young black woman who cannot get alqa hired and falls into the hands of an exploitative photographer. Her job-seeking efforts are conducted exclusively through newspaper classifieds, and both her plight and her methods seem anachronistic and over-simplified. 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.


The clarity and humor with which Al Aswany treats the intricacies of the characters’ relationships make Chicago a poignant and captivating read. 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 chiccago and indirectly brings about the tragic downfall of the novel’s characters, and the U.

Between two worlds

Ultimately, Chicago is a truly brave work, and its translation offers Americans a provocative, vital perspective on the U. Stefanie Sobelle writes about contemporary fiction for Words Without Borders, Bookforum, and a variety of other publications. Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the chiacgo new writing from around the world.


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.

Author: Kigajinn Faulkis
Country: India
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Education
Published (Last): 12 June 2014
Pages: 49
PDF File Size: 16.31 Mb
ePub File Size: 9.74 Mb
ISBN: 564-6-93812-481-1
Downloads: 48081
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Shakashakar

Ed King is impressed by this American-based follow-up to an Egyptian bestseller. Sukhdev Sandhu reviews Chicago. Alaa Al Aswany’s aswaany novel, The Yacoubian Building, won over readers with its endearing mix of righteous political critique and rich melodrama. Readers in the West could learn about the corruption and brutality of the Egyptian government and the prevailing climate of religious hypocrisy, while enjoying the escapades of the book’s larger-than-life characters as their daily lives intertwined on the busy streets of Cairo.

In Chicago Al Aswany has, understandably, returned to the same formula with a broad network of interconnected tales of loss and redemption, but this time the tone is much darker, less forgiving and more openly political. The book centres on a disparate community of Egyptian academics and students in the University of Illinois who struggle to adapt to American life while maintaining conflicting relationships with their homeland.

Ahmed Danana, the portly head of the Egyptian Students’ Union in the USA, works for the government intelligence agency by informing on his fellow students and dreams of one day returning to a glorious political career in Cairo.

  ER 405-1-12 PDF

Nagi Abd al-Samad, an idealistic young mathematician, risks his budding scientific career and his beautiful American girlfriend by campaigning for democracy in Egypt. Their paths cross during the preparations for a visit to the university from none other than the Egyptian president himself. While Danana views the event as an unmissable career opportunity, Nagi sees it as a chance to bring his cause to the world’s attention.

Chicago has the same operatic structure and broad canvas as The Yacoubian Building. The political plots are interspersed with tender tales of unexpected love and emotional liberation while chapters never fail to end with an intriguing cliff-hanger. Despite this, Chicago is ql much less comfortable read.

The comedy of cross-cultural misunderstandings quickly gives way to tragedy. The lives of Al Aswany’s characters are all precariously constructed around illusions – either devotion to Egyptian culture or an adherence to American notions of individualism – and we watch as the illusions evaporate.

Between two worlds

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. Asway starts trying to re-establish links with his homeland and, in a desperate attempt to revisit the political ideals of his youth, agrees to Nagi’s plan to sacrifice his career and disrupt the president’s visit.

Al Aswany’s strength, and the quality that has won him such a huge fan base Chicago has already soldcopies in its original Arabicis his lovingly detailed characterisation.


His masterstroke in Chicago is to extract his characters from the comfort of their own cultures. In exile their personalities are stripped of all the legitimising props; their self-deceiving xlaa, prejudices and limitations are laid bare.

Danana’s guiltless corruption seems all the more absurd when set against the innocence of campus life, and the hypocrisy of his religious sermonising contrasts starkly with the godless pragmatism of his aswanj.

Beneath the strident political message, Chicago is, above all, a beautifully observed collection of character studies. Get the best sswany Telegraph Puzzles. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill’s life. This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis.

Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany – Telegraph

The essential gift book for any pet lover – real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends. A complete edition of John James Audubon’s world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase.

Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Monday 31 December Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany. Like Telegraph Aswsny on Facebook. More from the web.