If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English

Written by:
Noor Naga
Narrated by:
Noor Naga , Amin El Gamal

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2022
5 hours 8 minutes
Winner of the Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize, a lush experimental novel about love as a weapon of empire.

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an Egyptian American woman and a man from the village of Shobrakheit meet at a café in Cairo. He was a photographer of the revolution, but now finds himself unemployed and addicted to cocaine, living in a rooftop shack. She is a nostalgic daughter of immigrants “returning” to a country she’s never been to before, teaching English and living in a light-filled flat with balconies on all sides. They fall in love and he moves in. But soon their desire?for one another, for the selves they want to become through the other?takes a violent turn that neither of them expected.

A dark romance exposing the gaps in American identity politics, especially when exported overseas, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is at once ravishing and wry, scathing and tender. Told in alternating perspectives, Noor Naga’s experimental debut examines the ethics of fetishizing the homeland and punishing the beloved . . . and vice versa. In our globalized twenty-first-century world, what are the new faces (and races) of empire? When the revolution fails, how long can someone survive the disappointment? Who suffers and, more crucially, who gets to tell about it?
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Gazbeya E.

Loved this book! Great writing and great story

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Edwin Villegas

Great writing! The readers made me feel in El Cairo all the time!

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David Moore

Excellent times three. Gets at the cultural contradictions of "returning from exile" very well. Beautiful writing (very nice to hear the author doing the reading!), subtle suspense throughout amidst poignant emotions. And best of all, a good critique of woke-identity politics blasts at the end. Gripping.

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