If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English

Noor Naga

Regular price $22.00


I loved Washes, Prays and getting to read an entire novel by Noor Naga is such a delight. This book is a feast set for a funeral, it's delicious, you're mourning and you're discovering your life at the exact same time. - CP


This is a novel told through a series of questions and answers. Why is this interesting? I love answers that have nothing to do with the questions. -KB


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 cafe 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?

Paperback || 192 pages || 5.50" x 8.20"