Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi
A Novel of Egypt

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Ultimately, the novel’s unwavering commitment to educating readers on a political history that spans decades curbs its creative potential as a work of fiction. Even so, El Rashidi offers a sharply perceptive and judiciously accurate portrait of Egypt’s complex culture.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A young Egyptian woman recounts her personal and political coming of age in this brilliant 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.
 

About Yasmine El Rashidi

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Yasmine El Rashidi, a former Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, has written for The Washington Post, Newsday, Ms, Bidoun, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Monocle, among other publications.Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies and Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford.  He is the author of many books, including The Magic Lantern, an eyewitness account ofthe velvet revolutions of 1989.
 
Published June 28, 2016 by Tim Duggan Books. 192 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Chronicle of a Last Summer
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rajia Hassib on Jul 22 2016

Ultimately, the novel’s unwavering commitment to educating readers on a political history that spans decades curbs its creative potential as a work of fiction. Even so, El Rashidi offers a sharply perceptive and judiciously accurate portrait of Egypt’s complex culture.

Read Full Review of Chronicle of a Last Summer: A... | See more reviews from NY Times

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by LAUREN LEBLANC on Aug 19 2016

While El Rashidi struggles to create a convincing childlike voice, her narrative strengthens as her heroine reveals her desires and passions as a college student and then as an artist.

Read Full Review of Chronicle of a Last Summer: A... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rajia Hassib on Jul 22 2016

Ultimately, the novel’s unwavering commitment to educating readers on a political history that spans decades curbs its creative potential as a work of fiction. Even so, El Rashidi offers a sharply perceptive and judiciously accurate portrait of Egypt’s complex culture.

Read Full Review of Chronicle of a Last Summer: A... | See more reviews from NY Times
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