I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
A young Egyptian woman chronicles her personal and political coming of age in this debut novel.
We meet her across three decades, from youth to adulthood: As a six-year old absorbing the world around her, filled with questions she can’t ask; as a college student and aspiring filmmaker pre-occupied with love, language, and the repression that surrounds her; and then later, in the turbulent aftermath of Mubarak’s overthrow, as a writer exploring her own past. Reunited with her father, she wonders about the silences that have marked and shaped her life.
Chronicle of a Last Summer is very unique to read, possibly because it is Egyptian fiction (and the author herself is Egyptian). It’s writing is very interesting, different, but I actually liked it, and the story is fascinating.
It’s written in first person through the eyes of a young woman, and because its first person, she never addresses her own name, not even when other people are talking to her, making it a lot like a mysterious diary. The dialogue is captured in italics rather than quotation marks and it is written in such a way that the author never needs to put in the phrase “he said”. There are absolutely no indications of who is saying what, yet we know without a doubt who is saying what and in what tone they are using. Like I said earlier, it is very different than anything I have ever read, but it was a good kind of different.
As for the storyline, I eventually lost interest in it and just put it down because it was so repetitive and I couldn’t get into it, I made it about halfway. The content up to that point however was relatively clean only saying the word “bu**er” (which has the same meaning as our “f” word in European countries) twice and a brief one sentence mention of a lesbian couple who are relatives of the main character.
So even though I was relatively pleased with the writing style, I, personally, wasn’t impressed with the storyline and therefore can only give it 3 out of 5 stars, because there are others who will find this title more fitting to their preferences.
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Wow! That sounds very interesting! I have added it to my Goodreads. I’m going to try and read it one day! Thanks for the great review!
I’m glad it interests you Hope! You’re very welcome for the review!