Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rasashidi
Published on June 28, 2016 by Tim Duggan Books, Crown Publishing
Genres Fiction, Historical Fiction
A young Egyptian woman chronicles her personal and political coming of age beginning in Cairo in 1984. A young girl in a large home, during a very hot summer, where she gets quiet bored and her days pass slowly. Her days are quiet as she listens to her mother’s phone calls, watches the three TV stations they get and look out the window at the Nile. Underneath this quiet surface, she notices relatives talking about President Mubarak and everyone seems to speaking about the past. The political situation seems turbulent, people disappear and her own father has left, though she doesn’t know why or where he is. The story goes on to hear from her in 1998 as a college student and in 2004 as an aspiring filmmaker, finally reunited with her father and wondering how all the events she has witnessed over the years have impacted and shaped her life.
The narrator of this book is an unnamed Egyptian woman who chronicles her life over three important summers beginning in 1984 and then in 1998 and 2004. These summers are spent in her families home in Cairo. The book begins in the summer of 1984, when she is six years old and not only gives us a background on her families history, but makes observations of the political and culture events going on around her. She is very observant, even from a young age and is very aware of the personal political events that are unfolding around her. It was interesting to hear these events through the perspective of a privileged child. I thought the book was very interesting and gave me some insight into the politics of Egypt that I was not previously familiar with. I am also a big fan of historical fiction and I have to say I have not read many books on these time periods or about Egypt, so I found it quite interesting. The author’s style of writing flowed well through most of the book and although the story was a bit slow at times, overall I enjoyed the book. I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.