The topic is Egypt. CHRONICLE OF A LAST SUMMER is a coming of age novel. It’s written by a young woman named Yasmine El Rashidi who actually grew up in Cairo, and lives there still. She knows what she’s talking about.
The novel begins during the blisteringly hot summer of 1984 when our six-year-old protagonist is languishing in her house in Cairo, bored out of her mind. The state only allows three tv stations, and there are black-outs. Meanwhile mom is spritzing her face with water from a spray atomizer, trying to keep cool.
This novel is told in three parts over the course of thirty years. It delves into life right after the downfall of Sadat, and then during and after the chaotic time while Mubarak was ruling. We watch as people disappear, simply vanish off the face of the earth. The father figure even disappears for years before being reunited with his daughter. The politics of the era are deeply disturbing and yet we know all this really happened. I remember vividly watching Richard Engel report from Cairo just a few years ago. This region has been rife with horror for as long as I can remember. So this novel reads like a memoir to me.
This quietly written story will resonate within you long after you’ve read the last page. El Rahsidi has nailed it!
My beautiful finished copy came from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. It’s a keeper.