On May 5th we discussed Chicago by the Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswani, which explores the lives of Arab immigrants living in the United States, their struggle for cultural identity and varying perceptions of / integration into life in the US. Much like The Yacobian Building (Emaret Yacoubian), the iconic book for which Al-Aswani first gained international recognition, Chicago is a telling portrayal of the inner lives of an array of diverse, engaging characters, whose entangled lives are connected by a common setting. Just translated into English, Chicago was first released as a series of stories in the weekly Al Destour. The story carries just a trace autobiography (like many of his characters Al-Aswani also studied medicine in the University of Illinois).
- Kostyal, Karen, “Alaa Al Aswany: Voice of Reason” (Interview with the author), National Geographic Interactive, nd.
- Salama, Vivian, “A Tale of Some Egyptian: As Yacoubian Building Heads West, the Author Discusses the Story’s Message”, Daily Star Egypt, December 8, 2005.
The group, as always, expressed a wide range of views on the book of the month, but mainly centered on the following topics which are included below: Continue reading