I was gripped from the first paragraph by this compelling, intricate portrait of a group of Egyptians living in Chicago. The author gives insight into the varied and personal range of Muslim belief and practice, and reflects on the far-reaching effects of corrupt governments. Political and personal, this book often feels more like a series of intertwined short stories than a novel.
From Alaa Al Aswany, the author of the highly-acclaimed The Yacoubian Building, comes a story of love, sex, friendship, hatred, and ambition set in the midwestern city with a cast of American and Arab characters achingly human in their desires and needs. 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.
“Egyptian author Al Aswany weaves a vivid tapestry of clashing cultures in post 9/11 Chicago. . . . The characters are beautifully realized [and] each of the story lines is individually compelling.”
“...Al Aswany’s knack for making the personal political.”
“While the book explores political points, it’s ultimately a pluralist drama, complete with cliffhangers.”
“Aswany sensitively probes the nature of courage and patriotism. . . . [T]he story moves in surprising directions, and the ambiguity of life is well reflected in an unabashedly untidy conclusion.
“Al Aswany writes about his Egyptian characters with charm, gentle humor, and genuine conviction.”