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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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. 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.

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.

Sukhdev Sandhu sinks into a gripping, steamy and occasionally soapy novel from one of Egypts bestselling writers. The picture of Islamic culture that this book paints is perhaps, from an American perspective, the most interesting aspect of the book. Pages with related products. This is a shrewdly conceived novel: Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.

Review: Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany

Kari marked it as to-read Dec 29, The funniest scene in the book is the encounter between Nagi and a prostitute that ends in mutual chciago Judyta marked it as to-read Mar 30, Salah left his girlfriend Zeinab to immigrate to America in the 70’s however his marriage with his American wife faces problems.


Sara Mazzoni marked it as to-read Jun 28, Working here just means showing up. A complete edition of John James Audubon’s world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a a slipcase. Chicago, a novel set in the city in which the author was educated, was published in January One storyline – in which an expatriate heart surgeon is asked to return to Egypt to save the life of a patient, who just happens to be the man who failed him at medical college solely on political grounds – is especially colourful.

Bianca marked it as to-read Sep 29, The House of the Spirits: Shayma, Tarriq, and Nagbi were the students admitted into the phd histology program. Wl characters are beautifully realized—Ra’fat’s family trouble is especially well done—and though their cumulative effect is muted, each of the story lines is individually compelling. Al Aswany overlaps slices of the daily acts of his myriad characters who are linked to aswnay another through a shared place.

Stefanie Sobelle writes about contemporary fiction for Words Without Borders, Bookforum, and a variety of other publications.

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Chicago: A Novel: Alaa Al Aswany: : Books

One of the characters works for Egyptian intelligence, essentially spying on Egyptian Ex-pats in the Chicago area. 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 with various machinations, instead of his studies, and Aswany isn’t particularly good on academic life but has fun ideas as far machinations go. There is also a well known principle in jurisprudence that says ‘necessity makes the forbidden permissible.


Nagi Abd al-Samad, an idealistic young mathematician, risks his budding scientific career and his beautiful American girlfriend by campaigning for democracy in Egypt.

Between two worlds

Beneath the strident political message, Chicago is, above all, a beautifully observed collection of character studies. The essential gift book for any pet lover – real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends. Often it’s of the rather desperate sort — especially when that female virtue is meant to stay untouched — though at least one character does find a good measure of release and happiness when she shells out for a vibrator.

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Chicago (novel) – Wikipedia

Aswany does not shy away from sex. 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.

Obviously, you cannot expect the English dialogue to be idiomatically correct. Nagi, whose sympathetically portrayed combination of radical politics and literary dreams must surely be close to Al Aswany’s heart; Shaymaa, a high-achieving but sexually gauche student with whom the incorrigibly bumptious general’s son Tariq has fallen in love; Danana, president of the Egyptian Student Union in America, and in the pay of his country’s secret police, who wields his power with obnoxious swagger and has managed to bag himself a wife from an affluent family.