** if you intened to read the book and you hate spoliers don’t continue reading**
I don’t know what the big deal about the Arabic book Chicago by Alaa Al Aswani is, I thought it was full of cliches (i.e. A trite or overused expression or idea.)
Some sex some politics and a sprinkle of religion and voila , you have Chicago.
The books main characters:
- The Hijabi conservative Egyptian woman who is religious falls for sin and has sex with a man and ends up being pregnant and aborts the baby. Now maybe this is the most believable part of the story.
- The Arab guy who as soon as he lands in Chicago calls a call girl to have sex with her and she turns out to be an older woman , he hits her and then he feels sorry for her and gives her money for no sex.
- The government spy who heads the students and has no talent and got to where he got by Wasta, marries a nice girl, thinks she enjoys rape and takes her fathers money
- The Egyptian man who rejects his Arab identity completely, marries an American and his daughter ends up being a drug addict and she OD’s and dies.
- A black woman who can’t find employment because of racism ends up doing underwear adds for $1000 an hour, now that is just not gonna happen. They take pictures of her boobs and put them on TV. In the states that never happens and will never happen, you can’t even say the word “shit” on American TV let alone have an add with boobs in it. I would have believed it more if she turned into a porn star. So her boyfriend leaves her because she slept with the boss to get ahead.
- An Egyptian government interrogator who has sex with the political prisoners wives for favors, rapes the wives and mothers in front of them so they can confess
- The government opposition guy who gets caught by the FBI who tell him, we will rape you in prison like he Egyptian police do
- A guy who couldn’t face his fears by saying something to Mubarak in opposition commits suicide.
And the list goes on. Cliche after cliche after cliche.
Maybe it’s a big deal because it’s an Arabic book dealing with these subjects but as an avid reader who reads amazing books this does not even register on the amazing scale.
I usually rate the book by what it added to me, did it make me think? Did it make me question certain things? Did it add anything to my life? Did it make a point?
The answer for ME for all these questions was No.
Maybe I don’t get it.
The only saving grace for this book is the fact that it is entertaining.