10 Nov 2022

We Can(ada) Read: IF AN EGYPTIAN CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH by Noor Naga

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IF AN EGYPTIAN CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH

Author: Noor Naga
Series: N/A
Source: Audiobook from Libro.fm
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Summary:
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an Egyptian American woman and a man from the village of Shobrakheit meet at a cafĂ© in Cairo. He was a photographer of the revolution, but now finds himself unemployed and addicted to cocaine, living in a rooftop shack. She is a nostalgic daughter of immigrants “returning” to a country she’s never been to before, teaching English and living in a light-filled flat with balconies on all sides. They fall in love and he moves in. But soon their desire—for one another, for the selves they want to become through the other—takes a violent turn that neither of them expected.

A dark romance exposing the gaps in American identity politics, especially when exported overseas, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is at once ravishing and wry, scathing and tender. Told in alternating perspectives, Noor Naga’s experimental debut examines the ethics of fetishizing the homeland and punishing the beloved . . . and vice versa. In our globalized twenty-first-century world, what are the new faces (and races) of empire? When the revolution fails, how long can someone survive the disappointment? Who suffers and, more crucially, who gets to tell about it?
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Content Warning: abusive relationships, drug use

This just didn't work for me. While I thought the story was decent, the writing wasn't what I wanted it to be, and then the meta aspects at the end made me wish I had never read it to begin with. It was too tongue-in-cheek without understanding why the flaws were there to begin with. I think this would have been better just from the "her" perspective and leaving out the rest.

If you're interested in reading this, I'd say pick it up from your library before buying it just to be sure!

Are you going to pick this up?

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