Review: Chronicle of a Last Summer


A young Egyptian woman chronicles her personal and political coming of age in this debut novel.
Cairo, 1984. A blisteringly hot summer. A young girl in a sprawling family house. Her days pass quietly: listening to a mother’s phone conversations, looking at the Nile from a bedroom window, watching the three state-sanctioned TV stations with the volume off, daydreaming about other lives. Underlying this claustrophobic routine is mystery and loss. Relatives mutter darkly about the newly-appointed President Mubarak. Everyone talks with melancholy about the past. People disappear overnight. Her own father has left, too—why, or to where, no one will say.
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.
At once a mapping of a city in transformation and a story about the shifting realities and fates of a single Egyptian family, Yasmine El Rashidi’s Chronicle of a Last Summer traces the fine line between survival and complicity, exploring the conscience of a generation raised in silence.

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Information:

Stars: 3.5/5

Source:  (Hardcover, 181 pages) from publisher-blogging for books

Published: June 28th 2016 by Tim Duggan Books

Author: Yasmine El Rashidi is a Cairo-based writer. She is a 2015-2016 Cullman Center Fellow at The New York Public Library. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books as well as a contributing editor to the Middle East arts and culture quarterly Bidoun. She lives in Cairo and New York City.

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Review:
Chronicle of a Last Summer takes readers to the world of the author, Yasmine, in the land of Eygypt. Eygypt in 1984 is hot and humid. Her story, which is about a span of three decades, takes brings readers to the life of an Egyptian girl. In the book we get to see her grow and how her life changes as the time goes on.

I’m struggling to write this review, so I’m going to be straight forward. This book is simple, yet informative. However, I struggled with the first third of the book though. Her character is hard to understand. However, like I said before, this book is very informative. I’ve never read about this side of a female in this time frame.

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