Chronicle of a Last Summer reads as an impressionistic memoir (though of course it’s fiction), a philosophical meditation on the nature of change and stasis, the story of a family fractured by political circumstance ... this digressive, philosophizing book takes advantage of her strengths in observation, psychological and otherwise, and in analyzing the dynamics beneath Egypt’s recent instability ... A thought-provoking story of a young writer growing up in Egypt through three summers of unrest.
This 'silence of objectivity and being an observer' informs not only the novel’s moral core but also its style, which is carefully constructed to underscore the book’s political theme ... El Rashidi portrays the city and its inhabitants with an enviable eye for detail, accurately illustrating the colorful culture and skillfully using the city’s progression over the decades to mirror the country’s political history. However, the novel’s obsessive preoccupation with politics stifles its plot ... Ultimately, the novel’s unwavering commitment to educating readers on a political history that spans decades curbs its creative potential as a work of fiction.
...[an] eloquent frist novel ... Apart from the charismatic, troublemaking Dido, these characters remain hazy and their fates unresolved. Still, Ms. El Rashidi’s portrait of the unrest in her country is brutally vivid throughout.