“The novel brims with sparkling prose. Naga’s sentences are precise and rich with bold, complex observations. . . [an] exhilarating debut.”—Nadia Owusu in The New York Times

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is a haunting, tragic novel about the monstrous proportions identity crises can attain when they are not tended to, and how the thirst for acceptance and belonging can drive us into dark, self-destructive situations.”—Iman Sultan in The New Arab

“Sharp, switched-on, and self-interrogating, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English masterfully continues, long after the last page is read, to provoke uncomfortable yet essential questions about what we demand from literature that represents otherness.”—Dana Hansen in Chicago Review of Books

“An escape story, a trip home, secrets to unravel, but what truly gets one involved in the reading is [Naga’s] immensely fluid prose, as each sentence forces one to stop long enough to savor it slowly—prose that is highly complex and supremely intelligent.”—Ahmed Naji in The Markaz Review

“Naga [explores] questions about otherer and othered, about potential reversals of the process, about who is the hegemon and who the oppressed, and how that distinction changes based on the situation.”—Ian Ross Singleton in Los Angeles Review of Books

“Extraordinary.”—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman in a starred Library Journal review

“Noor Naga’s novel If An Egyptian Cannot Speak English is a masterclass in complex characters and incisive writing. It is a novel deeply aware of itself—just when you think you know what the writer is trying to do, she surprises you.”—Manal Ahmed in F(r)iction

“She deals with important issues with a gimlet eye and a rare sensitivity—it would be a massive understatement to call this novel a must-read.In a word: brilliant.”—starred Kirkus Review

“Noor Naga’s arresting novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English begins with a meet-cute in a Cairo cafe. There, an Egyptian American girl looking to reconnect with her roots bumps into a local boy who is disillusioned with the lack of change following the Arab Spring revolution. As their initial attraction blooms into a dark romance, Naga uses their complicated intimacy to probe larger questions of belonging, identity, and the true costs of globalization.”—Cady Lang in TIME Magazine

“Naga impresses with her snappy prose . . . and has a gift for exploring varied perspectives . . . This smart story is distinguished by its surprising empathy.”—Publishers Weekly

“The book winks at us as it packages itself as a familiar love story, and then uses the characters’ self-awareness to ask its most uncomfortable questions.”—Yasmin El-Rifae in Mada Masr

“A love story told in three sections, against the backdrop and drama of the revolution that swept Cairo’s streets.”—Raaza Jamshed in Guernica

“This wonderfully smart novel does not miss a chance to critique the rigid boundaries of our societies. It moves between spaces and concepts like no other I’ve read and invites the reader to see beyond black and white.”—Leila Zonouzi in Egypt Migrations

“Shimmering with philosophical depth, [Naga’s] writing is confident and deft, interrogating the tensions and contradictions around questions of identity: what constitutes it, how slight differences and large fragmentations arising from class and geography often complicate it, and why some may struggle to fully inhabit it.”—Shayera Dark in The Johannesburg Review of Books

“Filled with imagery and prose that can only be achieved by a brilliant poet like Noor Naga, it is a novel aimed at asking questions (sometimes directly) rather than providing answers.”—Doma Mahmoud in Electric Lit

“Hats off to Naga, who is a master at staging that intense romantic slow burn that anticipates a deadly explosion.”—Ainehi Edoro in Brittle Paper

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English refuses to take the easy route when it comes to examining the shifting nature of power. Instead, it settles into the seeming contradictions: how a person can have power and privilege over another in one situation, then be at the mercy of that same person the next.”—Alicia Elliott in the CBC

“Naga’s greatest strength is in capturing the excruciating detail that attends the gradual atrophy of relationships, the gradual accent to loving, the emotional compromises and the descent towards a discovery of what cannot be…”—Chimezie Chika in Afrocritik

“A thoroughly creative and thought-provoking novel”—T.O. in Buzzfeed

“Everything you learned about in college classes on Edward Said’s Orientalism is here put into play in people’s lives.”—Amitava Kumar in Book Forum

“Naga is a bold writer, unafraid of complexity and complication. She is also a magician with language.”—2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

“In If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, Noor Naga finds a form for diasporic consciousness: capacious enough to hold conflicting voices, inventive enough to capture the dream state of life in translation, supple enough to express varieties of heartbreak at the margins of culture.”—Sofia Samatar

“Noor Naga’s language combines precision with extraordinary suggestiveness. Reading this book is like stepping through an open doorway and realizing that a sparkling zodiac of colorful expressions lies another small step away. One hasthe impulse to keep going and to stop only to wave someone else to hurry along.”—Ato Quayson

“Noor Naga’s writing is fearless, virtuosic, and pithy with aphorism, her sentences honed to dagger point, thrumming with swag.”—A. Igoni Barrett

“Through exquisite invention and a tightly woven form, Noor Naga brings us into the colliding spaces of cultural duality met by the perennial struggles of people attempting to reconcile with one another and themselves. Enthralling and nuanced, this is a novel by a writer whose powers are just becoming known.”—Matthew Shenoda