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To start off, I just want to say that I will be adding this book to my FAVORITE BOOKS list. This was my first time reading an Arabic novel since 2006. When I was visiting Egypt last summer, I decided to buy this novel. No regrets.
Reasons why I liked this novel:
1) Fast paced (not what you're thinking): I don't think this book was plot driven. The author focused on analyzing each of his character. Analyzing situations and problems in Egypt. Therefore it was fast paced because each chapter tackled a problem and somehow was linked to the next chapter and eventually to the entire novel. It was just perfect, I don't know how to describe it.
2) The romance in this novel is the type I love: the main character falls in love with Farida. At first, I loved Farida, then I hated her, then I loved her and finally I decided to hate her. This roller coaster is something I never experienced from before. How could I love and hate this character so many times. For the main character, I loved how he looked at Farida. How he liked her for her eagerness to know everything about life and...France. How he respected her and gave her so many chances to fix her broken self so they could be together. It was just beautifully written. I read this book a month ago and it still impacts me how our eagerness towards specific things could turn us blind towards life necessities such as love.
3) The main character's friends especially Hatam. I love Hatam. Hatam represented every young Egyptian struggles. He was so real and so cool. I just wanted to be his best friend.
4) I don't know much about downtown Cairo but now I do. It was well-pictured in this book
5) The unique writing style
This book deserves all the rewards I could think of. I truly enjoyed it.
This book is only available in Arabic.