17 juli, 2016
The Automobile Club of Egypt ****Posted in : Reviews in english on by : Lotte Tags: 4 stars, Alaa Al-Aswany, Egypt
If you are looking for a fast paced thriller, this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a book with great character development, a book to get lost in and a book that maybe learns you a thing or two – well, then you found it.
The book takes place in Egypt in the period between World War II and the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Abd el-Aziz Gaafar, head of the Gaafar family, is forced to uproot the family to Cairo and take a job at the automobile club – a bastion of European privilege to which Egyptians, other than the Royal family, are admitted only as servants.
We see the world unfold through the eyes of the four Gaafar children as a social commentary to a part of history that should not be forgotten. Kamel and Saleha represent the modern outlook and the changing feelings that are arising in the people – tired of the british rule and suppression of the egyptian people. Said and Mahmud represent the more traditional role, where everything is about doing what is best only for you.
Using the club as center stage, Al Aswany paints a picture of this important time of egyptian history with enormous political and social changes, of racism and violence and what can happen is you push people to far.
The story unfolds in a slow pace, and there are defiantly chapters that I could have lived without, but all in all it is a story with great character development, political history and insight to the egyptian people.