Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I just finished reading "Chicago" by Alaa Al Aswani. It is an excellent novel although I have read better. Mostly striking are the well developed characters and their personification. You almost fall in love with Dr Graham, Nagi, Chris, and Marwa and you are totally amazed by the personality of Dr Salah, Tarik Hasseb, Shaymaa, Dr Ra'fat Thabit, and Carol. The book seems to be written to be turned into a movie with chapters making up fully fledged scenes of events ascending into a well weaved plot. I was however disappointed by some exaggerated scenes that reminded me of some stupid Egyptian movies like when Dannana greets and cheers for the President or even when Safwat Shakir breaks into Nagi's room. I liked the dramatic unfolding of events and the sad ending for the different characters and stories. Throughout the book I was a bit disappointed by how the author creates golden opportunities to his characters (Carol's friend appearing suddenly to give her a job, the love team formed for Sara, Salah getting in touch with Zeinab after 30 years and finding her a widow, etc.). Aswani had yet cleverly used the dilemma of the US's double standard democracy after 9/11 and his description of the military and totalitarian Egyptian regime is remarkable. I enjoyed reading it.