Author(s): Alaa Al Aswany
Sex, money, and politics are the driving forces of society in this new novel from bestselling author Alaa Al Aswany. A medley of Egyptian and American lives collides on the campus of the University of Illinois Medical Center in a post-9/11 Chicago, and crises of identity abound. Among the players are an atheistic anti-establishment American professor of the sixties generation, whose relationship with a younger African-American woman becomes a moving target for intolerance; a veiled Ph.D. candidate whose conviction in the code of her traditional upbringing is shaken by her exposure to American society; an emigre who has fervently embraced his new American identity, but who cannot escape his Egyptian roots when faced with the issue of his daughter's 'honour'; an Egyptian State Security informant who spouts religious doctrines while hankering after money and power; and a dissident student poet who comes to America with the sole aim of financing his literary aspirations, but whose experience in Chicago turns out to be more than he bargained for.This tightly plotted page-turner is set far from the downtown Cairo of Al Aswany's "The Yacoubian Building", but is no less unflinching an examination of contemporary Egyptian lives.
"The only Arabic-language novel to have created greater buzz and sell more copies since 'The Yacoubian Building' is Al Aswany's second novel, 'Chicago' ... a rare opportunity to consider the contemporary Egyptian condition." Financial Times "Al Aswany's rich tableaux of everyday lives and devastating social commentary have made him a wildly popular novelist in his native Egypt and the best-selling Arab writer both in the Middle East and abroad ... 'Chicago' is a powerful indictment of dictatorship and its corrosive effect on human dignity." TIME
Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957. He is a dentist by profession, and for many years practiced in the Yacoubian Building which was to form the setting for his bestselling novel of the same name. He has written prolifically for Egyptian newspapers on politics, literature and social issues.