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The Cairo House: A Novel (Arab American Writing)

4.2 (2147)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Cairo House: A Novel (Arab American Writing).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Samia Serageldin(Author)

    Book details


Samia Serageldin's heroine, the daughter of a politically prominent, land-owning Egyptian family, witnesses the changes sweeping her homeland. Looking back to the glamorous Egypt of the pashas and King Faruk, Serageldin moves forward to the police state of the colonels who seized power in 1952 and the disastrous consequences of Nasser's sequestration policies.Through well-chosen portraits and telling descriptions of the era's fashions and furnishings, Serageldin conveys detailed social and cultural information. She offers a glimpse of the beach at Agami in the 1960s and conveys the change in mood through the Sadat years. Serageldin's fictional treatment of recent Egyptian history includes key events leading to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, such as the assassination of writer Yussef Siba'yi and the harassment of theologian Nasr Abu Zayd.Serageldin's heroine goes into exile in Europe and the United States but returns to Egypt in an attempt to reconcile her past and present. Charting fresh territory for the American reader, this semi-autobiographical novel is one of the most sensitive and accessible documents of historical change in Egyptian life. The book will appeal to a general audience and will be particularly useful to students interested in the social customs of the upper class in Egypt in the Nasser and Sadat years.

3.2 (10483)
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Book details

  • PDF | 233 pages
  • Samia Serageldin(Author)
  • Syracuse University Press (30 Sept. 2000)
  • English
  • 5
  • Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Bonnie Sampsell on 18 July 2005

    I recently read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" for my Book Club. I was disappointed by author Nafisi's aloof and professorial style. Reading her book, however, reminded me of much I liked "Cairo House," which also describes changes in a society following a revolution. I read "Cairo House" several years ago--as did my Book Club--and we all enjoyed the book very much. I have since read many other books written by Egyptian expatriates, and I think that "Cairo House" is one of the best of this expanding genre. Author Samia Serageldin succeeded in creating a sympathetic character whose reminiscences provide a view behind the scene into one family's experiences in a way that only a good novel can do.

  • By Sofia on 30 May 2007

    The Cairo House is a compelling tale of love, loss, exile and tradition with decades of social and political change spun out in the history of one prominent family. It is a gripping and enjoyable read and is particularly poignant in the way in which it sheds light on the obligations, expectations and rights of women at the time.It is described as a "memoir in fiction" of the author's own life and the warmth she has for her family radiates from every page. This autobiographical quality is also, for me at least, very apparent in some of Gigi's frailties and all to human choices.Despite being a good, easy and enjoyable read, two things stopped this being a great book for me: a certain amount of repetition (with whole paragraphs appearing more than once at various points in the novel); and a labouring of themes. Serageldin has two heavy-handed themes throughout the book: the chameleon adapting to new circumstances and the kaleidoscope picture changing at the slightest provocation to reveal a completely different view. For me, the slightly clumsy and obvious repeated imposition of such undeveloping metaphors detracted from the authentic feel of the memoir. Still a good read but I would recommend Ahdaf Soueif's "Map of Love" as a better book.

  • By reader on 3 December 2004

    This is a haunting and very beautifully written book. It evokes the city of Cairo marvelously covering several decades in the last half of the century. Although the story focuses around a particular family house there, it is really a very personal story of an Egyptian woman and her life both in Egypt and abroad. I found it a very thought-provoking book and would recommend it without any doubt.

  • By Southernflower on 25 July 2015

    An interesting story, beautifully written. I really enjoyed it.


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