From the communal highs of night battles against the police to the solitary lows of defeated exile, The City Always Wins is a novel from the front line of a revolution. Mariam and Khalil move through Cairo’s political underground, their lives burning with political purpose, their city alive in open revolt, their choices heavy with futures unknown. Their revolution will fail - but can one ever succeed? 

The Boston Globe, The White Review, Ahram Online, The Arts Desk

Society of Authors: Betty Trask Prize
Institut du Monde Arabe: Prix de la Littérature

"An astounding debut novel." THE GUARDIAN

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"One of the defining novels of the Arab Spring" THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“From the chaos and torment of a revolution, and the perpetual struggle with despotism, Omar Robert Hamilton has drawn a novel of great emotional and intellectual power. The City Always Wins is a rare fiction that reminds us, with its wisdom about violence and inequality, grief and loss, how politics is for many today a way to live - and die.” 

"Rarely does a debut novel arrive as fully realised and confidently written" THE BIG ISSUE

“Few writers could capture the frenetic speed of an Internet-fuelled uprising alongside the time-stopping corporeal reality of bullet-ridden bodies, all while never losing sight of the love that powered Egypt’s revolutionary moment. Omar Robert Hamilton can do all that and more. Crossing borders and generations, he brings us into the movement’s effervescent hope and its crushing heartbreak, probing timeless questions about what the living owe to the dead. Unbearable. Unmissable. A dazzling debut.” NAOMI KLEIN

‘Compelling . . . Hamilton is to be commended for his vivid and sensitive depiction of one of the most important events in recent world history.’ LITERARY REVIEW

“I finished The City Always Wins with fascination and admiration. It gives a picture of the inside of a popular movement that we all saw from the outside, in countless news broadcasts and foreign-correspondent reports, a picture so vivid and powerful that it gives a passionate life and reality to what might have been perceived only as abstract principles. A thousand vivid details print themselves on the reader’s memory: it will be a long time before we read anything so skilfully brought to life.” PHILIP PULLMAN

“Brings vividly to life the failed revolution of 2011 on the streets of Cairo, in all its youthful bravery and naive utopianism.” JM COETZEE

"[Hamilton] skilfully manipulates the push and pull between fact and fiction in the novel,punctuating the narrative with date stamps, real tweets, and newspaper headlines. . . The book also challenges the myth that January 2011 was beautiful and peaceful. In this way, too, it is a reminder of the suppression and violence that continue." THE NEW YORKER

"The City Always Wins is a stirring, clear, humane and immensely savvy novel about political innocence and fearlessness. Its fictive portrayals of the Egyptian 'revolution' of 2011 are nothing less than ground-breaking." 

"Fucking incredible, and this is without hyperbole.  Hamilton has created both an unsparing psychological portrait of a generation - a generation who could just about see a new world through the tear gas - and a poetic, searing depiction of a revolution betrayed.” MOLLY CRABAPPLE

"A poetic, intimate debut . . . A psychologically acute perspective on the uprising as it unfolded, positioning the reader alongside political dissidents . . . Line by line Hamilton has the power of a crack poet  . . . This novel bears witness, recording injustice and aiming, as all good literature attempts, to tell the truth" NEW STATESMAN

“The hope, the excitement, the arrogance, the disillusionment, the renewal of hope—this novel is fast, thought-provoking and hugely entertaining.” RODDY DOYLE

"Hamilton’s stunning debut is both a defiant fist in the air and a sucker-punch to the gut. Despotism and optimism have seldom been so powerfully portrayed." THE NATIONAL


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