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Book Review

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Migrant Dreams is about the hopes and aspirations on which migrant workers thrive to achieve their goals. The first version of this book was published in 2017 in Arabic with the title Hatta yantahi al-naft (Until the End of Oil). Based on over a decade of fieldwork, observations and conversations, Samuli Schielke gives a detailed overview of the life of low-income Egyptian migrant laborers who relocated to the Arab Gulf States on temporary contracts, returned, then migrated again. The book focuses mostly on the story of Tawfik, an intelligent Egyptian young man from rural backgrounds who is compelled to achieve the dream of marriage and building a family home, while in ghurba (away from home). The most important task of the book as Schielke puts it is “to describe how and under what conditions migrant workers live” (xv). He attempts to define the life of a migrant which is not really a life yet is entirely concerned with building a life.