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Cairo House

Product Description
A work that depicts the glamourous Egypt of the pashas and King Farouk, the police state of the colonels who seized power in 1952, the post-Sadat years and the rise of fundamentalism. It is a study of family and culture in transition and crisis, exploring the ambiguities of status and loyalty.

Cairo House


  1. The Cairo House is a third class novel. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of writing technique and style. The thread throughout the novel is weak and tangled. The writing is of very poor quality. I couldn’t even describe it as stream of consciousness as it is too abrupt and confused for that. It is also quite repetitive with underdeveloped characters, setting and plot. The digressions, descriptions and imagery throughout the novel in most cases are misplaced, unnecessary and do not integrate well into the context of the novel. Regarding content, the story is very weak, and sadly superficial. It is mostly unnecessary fluff that serves nothing but filling in the pages. If it weren’t for the author’s picture on the back of the book, which clearly shows that she is at least fifty, I would have mistaken it as the writing of a high schooler who watches too much television. If you intend to read The Cairo House, I strongly recommend you precede your reading with two strong cups of coffee.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. THE CAIRO HOUSE is a really engaging novel! Some of the comments below assume, incorrectly, that the book needs to be a treatise. But novels don’t need to make statements of a specific (for example, postcolonial) kind — and probably shouldn’t. I thought the author’s picture of life before the Nasser regime was a fascinating take on a portion of Eygpt’s history that Americans have forgotten, if they ever knew about it. [I’m fairly political but did not know anything about this history until after 2001; and I certainly never got a feeling for it in fiction.] But, again, the book is not a work of history, it’s a novel. And autobiographical novels should be judged by how well they read. This one reads extremely well, with a savvy and sophisticated awareness that it is in dialogue with women’s fiction. I really recommend it.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. I found this book a very enjoyable read. It taught me a great deal about Egypt and made me curious to know more about the country. It is a beautifully written and crafted novel, which held my attention from start to finish. In fact I was so fascinated by it, I couldn’t put it down, and I read it in two days over the weekend. I highly recommend it.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Upon reading The Cairo House, I was exposed to a Cairo that is alien to me. I grew up in Cairo during the time period depicted in the novel. My family was closely associated with the author’s family, and we shared the same lifestyle, circumstances and events. What I must say is that The Cairo House is a misportrayal of Cairo, and all what it represents. There may be some resemblence in the Cairo House to the Cairo we grew up and lived in, in terms of lifestyle, events, and places, however, the traditions, customs, culture, social codes, beliefs and attitudes are poorly and falsely portrayed. The Islamic religion is also misrepresented in the novel with basic religious information being innacurate and at times false.
    The Cairo House should NOT be taken as a source of information on Cairo, and it is by no means a reference in any way. The Cairo House can only be served justice if it is considered just a fiction novel, as it actually is. CAIRO, EGYPT, IS NOT AND NEVER WAS THE CAIRO OF THE CAIRO HOUSE.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  5. Though I am not familiar with Cairo and Egyptian culture, never having lived there , the description of the place and time in this charming and very readable book, rang true to me because of the vivid and original details, and the intelligence of the voice.

    Also, as foreigner who has lived in the States, I found The Cairo House an evocative exploration of the expatriate experience. Serageldin successfully evokes the ambiguity and chameleon-like quality of the bi-cultural individual, and renders this experience with sensitivity and honesty.

    Sheila Kohler author of “Crossways”
    Rating: 4 / 5


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