Hello! Happy Tuesday. I’ve read another book, and have reviewed it below for your enjoyment. I’ve also included a list of organizations you can donate to in order to help refugees fleeing the war in South Sudan. Please do so if you are able.
Chicago, by Alaa Al Aswany, Translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab
“‘I haven’t told this story to anyone, but you should know it because yesterday you accused me of fleeing from Egypt.’ ‘I apologize again.’ He bowed his head and said in a soft voice, as if talking to himself, ‘Please stop apologizing. I just want you to know me as I really am. For the last thirty years that I’ve lived in America, I haven’t forgotten Egypt for a single day.’ ‘Aren’t you happy with your life here?’ He looked at me as if trying to find the right words, and then he smiled and said, ‘Have you had any American fruits?’ ‘Not yet.’ ‘Here they use genetic engineering to make the fruit much larger and yet it doesn’t taste so good. Life in America, Nagi, is like American fruit: shiny and appetizing on the outside, but tasteless.’”
(NOTE: I know the author of this book, but have reviewed it solely based on its merits)
This is a book set in Chicago, at the University of Illinois, in its histology department, after 9/11. It follows the lives of Egyptian and American students and professors. Some have their sense of tradition shaken, others face persecution, and others plan conspiracies against the soon-to-visit Egyptian president. What will happen? Read the book to find out.
It’s a very good read, too. The author is very observant of people, and a lot of his details are wonderful to read. It’s easier to write sharp-eyed details than it is to actually make the reader feel emotions, but the author manages to do both. There’s a lot of sadness in the book, but also moments of comedy, and the occasional moment of joy. The reader feels it all.
As promised, here’s a list of organizations you can donate to in order to support people fleeing Sudan:
Save the Children: Helps reunify children with their families, provides educational support, and basic needs like food and water. Donate here: https://www.savethechildren.org/us/where-we-work/sudan
CARE: Helps people restore their livelihoods while providing them food, water, and shelter. Donate here: https://www.care.org/our-work/disaster-response/emergencies/sudan-humanitarian-crisis/
UNHCR: Provides shelter, access to healthcare facilities, and waterproofing abilities for Sudanese refugees. Donate here: https://donate.unhcr.org/int/en/south-sudan-emergency
Islamic Relief Fund: Provides humanitarian aid for refugees and orphans, helps people access healthcare, and increase families’ income. Donate here: https://irusa.org/sudan/