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شيكاجو

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  19,998 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews
يقول الأستاذ جلال أمين عن هذه الرواية المتميزة: ها هى رواية علاء الأسوانى الجديدة «شيكاجو» تستحق بدورها نجاحًا مماثلاً وبنفس القدر من الجدارة كالذى استحقته عمارة يعقوبيان. فرحت عند انتهائى من قراءتها لأكثر من سبب، فقد أكدت لى هذه القراءة أن لدينا بالفعل أديبًا كبيرًا وموهوبًا، وظهر أن عمارة يعقوبيان ليست ظاهرة منفردة لا تتكرر، بل إن من الممكن أن تتكرر المرة بعد المرة. فى ا ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by دار الشروق (first published 2007)
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,998 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews


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Carolyn Moncel
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! I found this book by accident, and Mr. al Aswany is just a beautiful writer. The conversation flows and by the end of the book, I wasn't ready to let go of these characters. I've always been interested in the immigrant experience and to watch it unfold among people from Egypt, living in my hometown was really fascinating. I'm an expatriate living overseas in Europe now so I can really identify with these people's lives on a lot of levels -- but not all. His intimate kno ...more
Judith
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing on its own merits, but the circumstances surrounding my reading of the book are very fortuitous and worth mentioning. I spent the first 2 weeks of February in Chicago due to a medical emergency (not mine) and I ran out of books to read so I bought this one at Borders because it looked interesting. Meanwhile, during this time the historic events in Egypt were unfolding. As it happens, "Chicago" is a story of Egyptians in Chicago, and much of it concerns the discontent of thos ...more
Lara
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a bit appalling that I haven’t written about Chicago by now, because I actually finished it a while ago. My reluctance to write has nothing to do with my impression of the book, because I must say, I really liked it - more than I expected to. Not in a “I can’t part with this book” sort of way, but I really did enjoy it. I read some reviews of the book after finishing it and was disappointed to see that it averaged about 3 stars. I realize that I have a tendency to looooove most books - to g ...more
Rania
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In this book, Alaa Al Aswany seems to be responding to what some people have called "the American dream" which appears in the novel to be, in fact, an American nightmare. A while ago, one of work mates was telling me he wished to travel to America "where all dreams come true and all the impossible can be rendered possible." The characters in this novel had the same thought, and they travelled to America fishing for their dreams. They face the severe problem of conflicting cultures; they are tota ...more
Kathy
Dec 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Chicago would make a much better movie than a novel. In a format like the movie Crash, Chicago follows several parallel story lines that are loosely connected through the university where Egyptian students and expatriates teach and study. The biggest flaw with the novel is in the translation - written in Arabic and translated into English, the dialogue does not flow naturally. Many passages are pedantic and preachy, especially at the start of a new chapter. All of that would go away with ...more
Ram
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about Egyptian immigrants and students in Chicago in the beginning of the 21st century.

The main characters of the book are postgraduate students in the University of Illinois at Chicago.

They are confronted with Racial discrimination, conflict between cultures and, most of all the threat of the Egyptian secret intelligence agency that is monitoring the loyalty of the Egyptian citizens in it's corrupt and threatening way.

The Egyptian students find themselves in an unfamiliar environment wi
...more
A.
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like in a chess game, Dr. Al-Aswani kills all of the players and keeps the last two(not literally). He did the same thing in his first novel.

If books were rated, I’d rate this one “R” for nudity and sexual scenes….and I’m not sure if Dr. Al-Aswani is obsessed with sexual scenes, or he just enjoys dissecting his characters down to the core exposing every detail of their private moments.

For a moment, I thought perhaps the writer took a crash course in psychiatry before writing this novel. I was ve
...more
tina
I thought this book would be a great experience because there are things about it that are very familar. But it's too stiff. I'm not sure if it's the translation, but no americans speak as they do in this book. It also lacks depth. The female characters are unconvincing. Also, Aswany tends to be too hyperbolic: example, "marshal fields is the best store in all of chicago." Lastly, the sex scenes reminded me of smut. Sex is fine when it's invoked for a purpose. If the goal was shock the result wa ...more
Adriana
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
A great book and a lovely surprise from an unknown author ( at least unknown by me ). I am not giving it 5 stars because the end is too abrupt, the story ends prematurely. I will surely look forward to Alaa al-Aswani's books
Dramatika
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite many shortcomings, I really enjoyed this book. The author painted a very nuanced still life on the life of Egyptian emigrants and expats living in Chicago. Tolstoy said that all unhappy family are unhappy in their own ways, and same can be said about unhappy dysfunctional countries. As a patriot of one such country I can understand the pain and suffering of the people who left, their survivor's guilt, even their enhanced hatred for their homeland. The author presented that ambiguity of e ...more
Meron Semere
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! First of all it was amazing reading about the historical context of post 9/11 America, Chicago, and Egypt and having this knowledge helped me follow the book along better. University of Illinois professors on decides which Egyptians to admit into the histology phd department however bicker as there are two Egyptian professors on the predominantly white board. The students that are admitted and the professors on the board lives collide into each other in Chicago.
Dr. Salah left
...more
Ryan Furlong
Honestly, it's a huge relief to finish this novel. I am quite frankly proud and surprised that I was able to power through this mess of a book, instead of throwing it down in search of something better.
Don't get me wrong, Chicago was an interesting read, as the author shared insight to a culture I am increasingly curious about from the perspective of Egyptians transplanted into a Western society. This parallel allowed Aswany to critique the political and gender based inequalities that are appar
...more
Tova
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 I am furious about this ending! That explained nothing. My one consolation is that Tariq came back but still you can't just end a book like that! But this was really good. I really wanted to this this book across the room but I can't because I'm in the car. RTC.
Christina
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
This was a different read. It takes place in Chicago, between faculty members and students at The University of Illinois Medical School - a lot of the characters being Egyptian muslims.
We follow a group of these - some rooting for change in Egypt, others only wan to forget and move on with their life in the US.
It took me a while to get into this book - it took me a lot of pages to understand how the author wrote the book, so that we follow different characters in the same circle, living kind of
...more
Lamia Husseiny
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
i like this novel like all Alaa Aswani novels despite the pain he descries and also despite the controversial opinions people has for his stories
Caroline
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose, novel
I picked this up from the library on a whim, because the cover and premise looked interesting. It's a translated Egyptian novel, about life in Chicago mostly from the perspective of Egyptian students and emigres.

Overall, this was pretty engaging and it was instructive (and often depressing) to see how life in America (under Bush) is/was viewed by a liberal writer from a Middle Eastern culture. It also reminded me, as did reading 'White Tiger' last year, that I don't know very much about the int
...more
Sarah
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabic
More Egyptians behaving badly, but this time away from home. This is really quite bad, with the most appalling stiff dialogue and laughably unrealistic situations - and it's not really set in Chicago, but in some parallel universe where they also make Egyptian soap operas.

I liked The Yacoubian Building, despite it having all the same issues, and like that one, this has some redeeming quality in the extreme humanity that underlies it. All of these horrible people are allowed their faults, not bec
...more
Mollie Wilson
This book made me frown, a lot.
I'm not a big fan of blatant disrespect for women, (how’s sexual assault for a good read!)But hey as long as it’s in pursuit of a good character then go for it.
But this was my problem; I found the characters to be abhorrent. Some had charm, I'll admit, and I was totally convinced by them, but I have never been so repulsed. I felt like the book was actively trying to hate me. Which makes no sense, but the more I read the more I wanted to stop reading, but I commit
...more
William
Alaa Al Aswany’s novel Chicago suffers from a translation that never succeeds in allowing the dialogue to sound anything but that: translated. Speech from the novel’s Egyptian immigrant scholars might be passable if readers expect stiff and awkward phrasing, but the Chicago natives here sound equally stilted. The result isn’t completely unattractive: the overly formal speech allows Al Aswany’s many messages – of American racism toward Arabs and African-Americans, of the conflicts felt by devout ...more
هديل Ghoneim
May 10, 2009 rated it liked it
when this book first came out .. i read the first chapter and then followed the story of shaymaa and tarek til the very end. skipping the rest of the novel! it is so compartmentalized that this actually worked! this time i'm reading it all. thats because i like alaa elaswany's non fiction essays. my opinion of his fiction wasnt very high .. i just like his politics. anyway chicago is by far better than 3omaret ya3qubian.

some parts were really great .. the scene where ra2fat is operating a surge
...more
Carl
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating look at the Egyptian culture in academic America, one that is invisible to most of us. The characters are interesting and for the most part likeable. While in Egypt a few years ago, I pickup a non-fiction book (Pyramids and Nightclubs: A Travel Ethnography of Arab and Western Imaginations of Egypt, from King Tut and a Colony of Atlantis to Rumors of Sex Orgies, ... a Marauding Prince, and Blonde Belly Dancers
by L.L. Wynn) It touched on many of the issues addressed by the w
...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Aswany went for a more commercial novel here, although he has the capability to have pursued a more literary direction. Nevertheless, the cultural exposition and political themes shine through and make up for the cliché cliffhangers, numerous characters with unequal development, and alternate point of views.

A recommended read for anyone interested in Egyptian culture / politics / socioeconomics or a novel of the Egyptian diaspora in the USA. I consider his previous novel superior though - The Ya
...more
Amany Rajab
I stumbled on this book yesterday in Kinokuniya after a 10 month reading hiatus, and chose to go with a genre I am comfortable with and can lean on to fall back into my reading.

Alaa Al Asawy is a great writer, and the way he writes about the ordinary lives of his characters is compelling and draws you in. I bought this book and read it in one session, so it was a great paced story.

My only complaint, was that it ended in typical Egyptian style, reminiscent of old Egyptian movies.
Jennifer
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the characters in this book; the doctorate students and the professors in particular, but also the Egyptian family members. Sadly, Egyptians and Egyptian culture are depicted as backward, even stupid and sometimes mean, but at the same time a deep love for this ancient country is revealed. An interesting current novel. I think it might be banned here in Egypt.
Ismael Elhalaby
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really good book , i enjoyed reading it , the only problem about it was the point of using too manu sexual scenes , words and emotions , in any western country that would be acceptable and readers would have no problem about it , but in egypt it is different , dr alaa could have reduced this sexuall stuff a little bit

Apart from that it is very interesting and i can highly reccomend it
Nourin
Jan 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really lame book. Author exaggerates typical American stereotypes that he's probably seen on TV. The story lines were pretty elementary, leaning on lame. All the endings came very abruptly, and they sucked. Characters lacked depth.
Lynda
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful character portrayal and handling of multiple viewpoints. Author manages to tell even brutal stories like threads in a tapestry which do not undercut the humanity of the whole. Reveals the lives of a collection of interconnected Egyption ex-pats studying at the University of Chicago.
Atef Badr
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shaimaa naive village girl, it is clear to me that education in childhood decide whether this character will survive in old age or will defeat
Kate
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't really hold together. Wooden in a lot of places. But I kept reading it and it had lots of rewarding individual moments. I wonder how it was received in Egypt?
Amira
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Love it love it love it! Al Aswany is an inspiration!
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تعليقي 2 42 Aug 03, 2014 08:22PM  
استمتعت بالرواية لدرجة أني لا أود أن أراها كفيلم!!! 48 524 Mar 02, 2014 06:06PM  
سيئة 23 277 Feb 11, 2013 04:29PM  
This Novel Is Amazing 1 75 Dec 24, 2011 11:37AM  

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علاء الأسواني

Alaa al-Aswany (Arabic: علاء الأسواني), Egyptian Arabic (Masri) "علاء الاسوانى" (born 1957) is an Egyptian writer, and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya.

Trained as a dentist in Egypt and Chicago, it took him 9 years to earn his degree from Chicago National University where he spent 17 years in his life, al-Aswany has contributed numerous articles to Egyptian newspaper
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“كل شعب فى العالم ينال الحكومة التى يستحقها ،،،

هكذا قال ونستون تشرشل”
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“من الظلم ألآ ينبهنا أحد إلى الوقت اللذي تسرب من أيدينا كـل لحظة ,- إنها خدعة متقنة : أن ندرك قيمة الحياة فقط قبيل نهايتها .” 86 likes
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