Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy. You were all greatly missed. Not back permanently yet. Life still insane, just had a book review burning. So here goes.
When I first told people I was about to read “Chicago” they always gave me the same answer “7elw bas 2abee7”. I couldn’t tell if the book was really that full of profanity and nudity or where they just making the comment on account of my prudent reputation. Either way, they were half right. It’s definitely 2abee7.
Alaa’s Aswany new novel comes at a great personal disappointment, being a long awaited issue and all. In his latest endeavour Alaa loses all charm and intrigue and all that was good about the first book. This one only mentions politics in a very straight and obvious manner and sounds more like a speech stuffed into a magazine.
The nature of this book is basically the equivalent to reading an r-rated movie. No story, no plot, just characters and scenes, a lot of scenes. Remember Mahfouz’s “Hadith Elsaba7 welmasa2” (God will forgive me for insulting Mahfouz by making this analogy), Alaa tries to follow in the footstep, basing his book on character bios. Trap he falls into, in attempting to make the characters as unique and different as possible, is that he ends up echoing stereotypes rather than real individuals. All the characters in the book are surreal, they are not single individuals, rather proxies for segments of the community, making the book less enjoyable, less believable and very cliche.
His characters, when not frolicing in and out of wedlock, are the conservative veiled girl who decides to be a liberal abroad, the doctor who leaves behind all that is Egyptian and attempts to be an American but fails, the prosecuted minorities and the blood sucking ambitious ass-kissers. Even his long and boring intro about the history of Chicago bears no relevance on the tale.
Plus even the sex was badly written, it was unrelated to context and on very rare occassion did the specifics bear any importance to the plot and events. You all know how I hate Paulo, but 11 minutes was heaven compared to this, at least the sex there was written elegantly and was meaningful and relevant to the story line. Instead here it’s just for the sake of selling, sa7afa safra, it’s blunt and written very crudely.
The only good point about the book is that (if you put the scenes aside) all the characters manage to go full circle, finding or losing themselves and accepting reality. Other than that, book sucks (personal opinion), not worth the time nor the money.