Live from Cairo
From a hugely talented, award-winning young author, a brilliant, lively debut novel about an impulsive American attorney, a methodical Egyptian translator, and a disillusioned Iraqi-American resettlement officer trying to protect a refugee who finds herself trapped in Cairo during the turbulent aftermath of the January 25 revolution.Cairo, 2011. President Mubarak has just been ousted from power. The oldest city in the world is reeling from political revolution, its consequent hopes and fears, its violence, triumphs, and defeats. But for the people actually living there, daily life has not slowed down but become wilder, more dangerous, and, occasionally, freeing.Live from Cairo is the exuberant, dazzling story of these people: Dalia, a strong-willed Iraqi refugee who finds herself trapped in Egypt after her petition to resettle in America with her husband is denied. Charlie, her foolhardy attorney, whose frustration with the legal bureaucracy and complicated feelings for Dalia have led him to forge a not entirely legal plan to get her out. Aos, Charlie’s fastidious translator and only friend, who spends his days trying to help people through the system and his nights in Tahrir Square protesting against it. And Hana, a young and disenchanted Iraqi-American resettlement officer; she is the worker assigned to Dalia’s case, deciding whether to treat her plight as merely one more piece of paperwork, or as a full-blooded human crisis. As these individuals come together, a plot is formed to help Dalia. But soon laws are broken, friendships and marriages are tested, and lives are risked—all in an effort to protect one person from the dangerous sweep of an unjust world.A vibrant portrait of a city in all its teeming chaos and glory, Live from Cairo is an exhilarating, electrifying debut, and a stunning testament to the unconquerable desire of people to rise above tragedy to seek love, friendship, humor, and joy.

Live from Cairo Details

TitleLive from Cairo
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherScribner
ISBN1501146874
ISBN-139781501146879
Number of pages336 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Cultural, Egypt, Africa, Adult, Contemporary

Live from Cairo Review

  • Fran
    April 7, 2017
    Cairo, 2011. President Mubarak is ousted from power. The political climate had made it impossible to avoid skirmishes between the army, protesters and the police. Refugees who have escaped war are stuck in street fights as libraries and police stations go up in flame, glass bottles of flammable liquid are thrown and the force of water cannons is unleashed on the populace. Thousands of refugees, trapped in Cairo during the aftermath of the January 25 revolution, file resettlement petitions. Only Cairo, 2011. President Mubarak is ousted from power. The political climate had made it impossible to avoid skirmishes between the army, protesters and the police. Refugees who have escaped war are stuck in street fights as libraries and police stations go up in flame, glass bottles of flammable liquid are thrown and the force of water cannons is unleashed on the populace. Thousands of refugees, trapped in Cairo during the aftermath of the January 25 revolution, file resettlement petitions. Only a fraction of the petitions are approved.Charlie, an American attorney and Aos, his translator, work for the Refugee Relief Project in Cairo. Their goal: to send every refugee to a safer place. This will not happen. Higher priority is given to victims of abduction, torture, rape or extreme medical necessity. One such refugee is Dalia. Her completed application was recently denied by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Hana, a newly appointed Iraqi-American resettlement officer has sent a rejection letter to Charlie's office regarding Dalia's petition.Dalia's case is compelling. Omran, her husband, worked for the American Army Engineering Brigade and was involved in rebuilding exploded pipes and water main breaks. The militia painted Omran as an enemy. He was tortured, beaten and lost an eye. The American Embassy, believing in non-negotiation, offered limited resources. Dalia did unspeakable things to win Omran's release. Omran has resettled in America, however, Dalia has not. Although married according to village tradition, no legal documentation of their marriage exists.Charlie, Aos, Hana and Dalia embark upon a dangerous path of questionable legality to reunite Dalia and Omran in America. There will be resultant risks and repercussions for trying to work the system and settle Dalia abroad.Charlie has taken a special interest in Dalia. His amorous feelings toward her have compelled him to place her resettlement petition at the top of his enormous case load. He is determined to convince or coerce Aos and Hana to jump on board and use extraordinary measures to change the narrative of Dalia's quest for safety."Live from Cairo: A Novel" by Ian Bassingthwaighte handily addresses the refugee crisis in war torn Iraq. Many refugees must repatriate to their home countries or integrate into the country they flee to. How can they make new lives if, as non-citizens, they cannot find employment? Most are trapped in a web of impossibility and inhumanity. There is no easy solution. Ian Bassingthwaighte has written a superb tome on the difficult path for refugees and asylum seekers.Thank you Scribner and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Live from Cairo".
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  • Esil
    July 11, 2017
    3+ stars. I so wish I had liked Live from Cairo more. It deals with really timely topics -- refugees trying to get to the US and the violence under military rule in Egypt. It has an interesting set of characters -- Americans Charlie and Hana working in Cairo for agencies more or less efficiently helping displaced people gain refugee status -- and an Iraqi couple trying to reunite despite the quagmire of paperwork and hearings. And it started off well -- the author made me feel like I was getting 3+ stars. I so wish I had liked Live from Cairo more. It deals with really timely topics -- refugees trying to get to the US and the violence under military rule in Egypt. It has an interesting set of characters -- Americans Charlie and Hana working in Cairo for agencies more or less efficiently helping displaced people gain refugee status -- and an Iraqi couple trying to reunite despite the quagmire of paperwork and hearings. And it started off well -- the author made me feel like I was getting a real flavour of Cairo in all of its troubles. But then it felt like the writer's imagination got the better of him -- he threw in way too much plot and drama leaving me feeling like the characters I had come to care for had become cartoonish, albeit tragically so. But don't trust my review. There are some very enthusiastic reviews for this one. Based on the beginning, I think I was looking for something different. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Cindy Burnett
    July 11, 2017
    3.5-4 starsLive from Cairo starts out very strong, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first third of the book. Ian Bassingthwaighte writes beautifully and intelligently, and he captures the sense of unrest and unease felt by the residents of Cairo following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Cairo is under a curfew, and individuals fleeing neighboring Middle East countries find themselves trapped in Egypt. While Live from Cairo focuses on the plight of an Iraqi woman, Dalia, whose husband has alread 3.5-4 starsLive from Cairo starts out very strong, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first third of the book. Ian Bassingthwaighte writes beautifully and intelligently, and he captures the sense of unrest and unease felt by the residents of Cairo following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Cairo is under a curfew, and individuals fleeing neighboring Middle East countries find themselves trapped in Egypt. While Live from Cairo focuses on the plight of an Iraqi woman, Dalia, whose husband has already left for the United States, the story has much broader implications. As the world continues to battle an ever-worsening refugee crisis, I appreciated Bassingthwaighte’s detailed descriptions of the political and religious conflicts in the region, and his incorporation of a personal element as well made the story engaging. My one complaint was that the book was too drawn out; a shorter, more concise resolution would have made the book a solid 4-4.5 for me. Thanks to the publisher for the chance to read and review this thought-provoking novel. I was certainly glad I read it.
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  • Michelle Sibley
    May 29, 2017
    This book appealed to me as I lived in Egypt from 2008 to 2015 however it wasn't what I was expecting at all. It could have been set anywhere, cairo didn't feel like cairo to me in the book. I couldn't relate to the characters, I felt the author explained crumbs on a seat belt better than he pulled me into the character lives. Perhaps my disappointment is because I was there in this time and for me the book didn't do it justice, it was bland, wordy and forgettable unfortunately.
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  • Stephen Clark
    April 2, 2017
    I was surprised by this book. I went into it thinking it would be political and about "big issues" like immigration, war, revolution, government, bureaucracy, etc.--which it is, of course. But it's also surprisingly human, tender, and perhaps most notably, really funny. The characters are not just likeable, but whole, complicated, and messy. I felt really invested in what happened to them. I guess that's a good measure of a successful book: whether or not it can make me care. This one did.Thanks I was surprised by this book. I went into it thinking it would be political and about "big issues" like immigration, war, revolution, government, bureaucracy, etc.--which it is, of course. But it's also surprisingly human, tender, and perhaps most notably, really funny. The characters are not just likeable, but whole, complicated, and messy. I felt really invested in what happened to them. I guess that's a good measure of a successful book: whether or not it can make me care. This one did.Thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy.
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  • Bandit
    July 12, 2017
    This time my international reading was set in Egypt. A place that normally fascinates me historically, back in the day of pharaohs. The recent events have put the country in the news quite often and I was interested in the literary perspective. Set during the tempestuous post revolution, post president's ousting from power time of 2011, the novel links several individual storylines that gets inextricably tangled up as one woman tries to leave Egypt to go be with her beloved but not entirely lega This time my international reading was set in Egypt. A place that normally fascinates me historically, back in the day of pharaohs. The recent events have put the country in the news quite often and I was interested in the literary perspective. Set during the tempestuous post revolution, post president's ousting from power time of 2011, the novel links several individual storylines that gets inextricably tangled up as one woman tries to leave Egypt to go be with her beloved but not entirely legal partner in the US. It's a fascinating look at the immigration and refugee crisis, because of its intimacy. Faceless throngs are infinitely easier to hate and ignore, personalize an account, make it real or realistic enough for the reader to care bout and there's a chance a mind might be changed or at least broadened. It's a difficult book to read, emotionally devastating at times, but not utterly pessimistic or hopeless, because time and again kindness, bravery and generosity of spirit do seem to triumph. The book is well written, most auspicious of a debut, at times overwritten (motivations overexplained or actually more like every single motivation explained leaving nothing to imagination), but overall very nicely done. The author knows what he's writing about too, having actually traveled to Egypt and it shows in details and vividness with which he brings that world to life. Do yourself a favor and check out his website for some terrific photography, some of which serves as a perfect companion to this book. Heavy but worthy read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Trish
    July 23, 2017
    Loved everything about the concept of this novel, but found the recount of minutiae at the start put me off. Every movement, every step is recorded. I am a little too busy to sink into anything unless it yanks me in and holds me down. This didn't do that.
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  • Mainlinebooker
    June 7, 2017
    A terrific book that is incredibly timely. Set in Egypt after the overthrow of Mubarak ,the book focuses on a young woman who has escaped from Iraq but finds herself rootless in Egypt. Her husband's immigration to the US was approved due to emotional hardship but hers was denied. The story revolves around her attempts to get papers and the people involved in the process. A disillusioned idealistic lawyer, his translator, and a young Iraqi American resettlement officer from UNHCR round out the ca A terrific book that is incredibly timely. Set in Egypt after the overthrow of Mubarak ,the book focuses on a young woman who has escaped from Iraq but finds herself rootless in Egypt. Her husband's immigration to the US was approved due to emotional hardship but hers was denied. The story revolves around her attempts to get papers and the people involved in the process. A disillusioned idealistic lawyer, his translator, and a young Iraqi American resettlement officer from UNHCR round out the cast of characters that play out the difficulties of asylum and refugees and the inhumanity of the situation. Captivating language and characters combined with a superb and fitting tale to the world of 2017 makes this a must read.Anyone with a heart cannot help but be touched by the reality posed within these pages.
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  • Sarah
    May 22, 2017
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The book details the hardships faced by those who lived through the Egyptian revolution in 2011. The story helps to humanize the revolution. We are introduced to refugees who enter Egypt in the hopes of finding a better life. Lawyers and UN workers who dedicate their time and life to helping those refugees. Egyptian citizens who struggle with post Mubarak life, being part of the revolution, and how they can be a part of the solution.I found it interesting that th I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The book details the hardships faced by those who lived through the Egyptian revolution in 2011. The story helps to humanize the revolution. We are introduced to refugees who enter Egypt in the hopes of finding a better life. Lawyers and UN workers who dedicate their time and life to helping those refugees. Egyptian citizens who struggle with post Mubarak life, being part of the revolution, and how they can be a part of the solution.I found it interesting that the main focus of the story was on a refugee rather than the protesters in Tahrir. It made me think of the revolution and refugees's in a whole other light. One of the most poignant quotes reads Hearts don't break, they simply continue. This perfectly sums up the plight of our characters. I constantly found myself thinking about how I would react if it were me in these situations. I think that is a testament in itself to the power of this novel.Thank you to the publishers for making this available to me through NetGalley.
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  • Judith Baxter
    February 18, 2017
    Another book to review from NetGalley from another author who is new to me. The story is set in Cairo in 2011 following the departure of Mubarak. So…Four lives are completely changed by the end of the book. Plotting and planning have some disastrous results and don't necessarily reach the desired conclusion.We're introduced to Charlie, an American lawyer working in Cairo and acting on behalf of refugees seeking to escape to a new life in a new country. We meet Aos his friend and colleague. Aos i Another book to review from NetGalley from another author who is new to me. The story is set in Cairo in 2011 following the departure of Mubarak. So…Four lives are completely changed by the end of the book. Plotting and planning have some disastrous results and don't necessarily reach the desired conclusion.We're introduced to Charlie, an American lawyer working in Cairo and acting on behalf of refugees seeking to escape to a new life in a new country. We meet Aos his friend and colleague. Aos is an Egyptian translator and apart from his adopted dog Ruby, Aos is Charlie's only friend.Into this mix comes Hana, newly arrived from the US to work at UNHCR - the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Her job is to accept or reject applications for resettlement. Hana is initially overwhelmed by the number of applicants and her role in determining their future.And Dalia an Iraqi refugee and one of those seeking to leave Egypt to join her husband in Boston. When her petition is rejected she finds herself trapped in Cairo.This is a book full of detail, of humans meeting inhuman systems, told by a gifted writer who takes us to this other time and other place. To say I couldn't put it down would be wrong. I found myself putting it down again and again while I thought of how people live following a revolution and the results of this on their lives.I would strongly recommend this book and thank the publishers for making it available to me prior to its publication in July this year.
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  • Tamara
    May 12, 2017
    This is a really great book. I've thought a lot about it and would like to write more about it but don't have time. It really makes you think, but it's also funny and relatable. It brings to life the issues of refugees which are so timely. It also brings to life in incredible detail the experience of living and working in Cairo. As a social worker, the book spoke to me about the challenge of trying to help people when the agencies and systems that you work in are not neccesarily set up to help i This is a really great book. I've thought a lot about it and would like to write more about it but don't have time. It really makes you think, but it's also funny and relatable. It brings to life the issues of refugees which are so timely. It also brings to life in incredible detail the experience of living and working in Cairo. As a social worker, the book spoke to me about the challenge of trying to help people when the agencies and systems that you work in are not neccesarily set up to help in the optimal way. When is it ok to deviate from your role? To break the law? What to do when being professional and being ethical are not the same thing? I will be thinking about this book for a long time. Thanks to the publisher & Goodreads for a review copy.
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  • Maria Beltrami
    May 13, 2017
    Mentre le cosiddette potenze occidentali scaricano bombe in giro per il mondo, la gente normale fugge, lascia la sua casa e condizioni di vita che sono diventate inumane e insicure. Queste stesse potenze occidentali però vorrebbero imporre limiti a queste fughe dettate dalla disperazione, così in molte molti luoghi dove i profughi si raccolgono sorgono uffici nei quali i loro casi vengono valutati, per vedere se queste persone sono degne di raggiungere l'agognato occidente. Così è al Cairo, dove Mentre le cosiddette potenze occidentali scaricano bombe in giro per il mondo, la gente normale fugge, lascia la sua casa e condizioni di vita che sono diventate inumane e insicure. Queste stesse potenze occidentali però vorrebbero imporre limiti a queste fughe dettate dalla disperazione, così in molte molti luoghi dove i profughi si raccolgono sorgono uffici nei quali i loro casi vengono valutati, per vedere se queste persone sono degne di raggiungere l'agognato occidente. Così è al Cairo, dove Dalia è bloccata perché non esistono documenti ufficiali del suo matrimonio con un uomo che invece è riuscito a raggiungere l'America e perché il suo caso non è ritenuto urgente. In realtà Dalia è troppo pudica e orgogliosa per dire davanti alla gelida donna americana che la interroga che cosa ha realmente subito, e la sua istanza di emigrazione viene respinta. C'è un uomo che però sa come stanno le cose, ed è Charlie, un avvocato americano per la difesa dei diritti umani, che, pur essendo innamorato della donna, fa il possibile e l'impossibile per mandarla via da lì, anche perché nel frattempo in Egitto è iniziata la rivoluzione, e quel poco di sicurezza che avrebbe potuto esserci, non c'è più. Mano a mano che Charlie porta avanti i tentativi per mandare legalmente la donna in America, gli avvenimenti diventano più convulsi, disperati eppure a loro modo ridicoli, scivolando inesorabilmente verso la catastrofe.Ottimo libro, ben scritto, che fa luce su una realtà che noi non conosciamo, o forse non vogliamo conoscere.Ringrazio Scribner e Netgalley per avermi fornito una copia gratuita in cambio di una recensione onesta.While the so-called Western powers discharge bombs all around the world, normal people flee, leave their homes and living conditions that have become inhumane and insecure. These Western powers, however, would like to impose limits on these desperate drifts, so in many places where refugees gather, there are offices in which their cases are being assessed, to see if these people are worthy of reaching the coveted West. So it is in Cairo, where Dalia is locked because there are no official documents of her marriage with a man who has managed to reach America and because her case is not urgent. In fact, Dalia is too pragmatic and proud to speak in front of the frosty American woman who asks her what she really suffered, and her instance of emigration is rejected. There is a man who knows how things are, named Charlie, an American human rights lawyer, who, while being in love with the woman, makes the possible and the impossible to send her away, also because in Egypt has in the meantime begun the revolution, and that little security that could have been there is no more. As Charlie keeps trying to legally send the woman to America, events become more convulsive, desperate, and yet ridiculous, slipping inexorably to the catastrophe.Great book, well written, that lights up a reality we do not know, or maybe we do not want to know.I thank Scribner and Netgalley for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachel Astles
    July 5, 2017
    This book takes the big issues of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and packages then into the lives of Hana, Dalia, Charlie, and Aos, and it follows their struggle to reunite Dalia with her husband Omran in America. Pieces of their pasts and futures fly around each other as Bassingthwaighte slowly builds and develops his characters. It's an epic story squeezed into ordinary lives.Overall I enjoyed the story and the read. The prose is sometimes quirky, and the narrative itself has personality. I g This book takes the big issues of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and packages then into the lives of Hana, Dalia, Charlie, and Aos, and it follows their struggle to reunite Dalia with her husband Omran in America. Pieces of their pasts and futures fly around each other as Bassingthwaighte slowly builds and develops his characters. It's an epic story squeezed into ordinary lives.Overall I enjoyed the story and the read. The prose is sometimes quirky, and the narrative itself has personality. I gave it four stars instead of five because it did sometimes feel that the writing I just complimented was overdone. The train of thought of a character would feel realistic, but too long for the moment, or a description would make the whole scene feel unsubstantial and fragile instead of grounding me in the story.
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  • Jessica Gordon
    May 21, 2017
    Set in the time period in which President Mubarak has just lost power, this novel portrays the story of several people, Americans and Egyptians, who work in Cairo trying to help refugees. The author cleverly juxtaposes the characters, however, by having them work in organizations with very different methods for aiding those in need. A couple characters, Charlie and Aos, are lawyers who work day and night to help their clients create applications for asylum, and they send their applications to an Set in the time period in which President Mubarak has just lost power, this novel portrays the story of several people, Americans and Egyptians, who work in Cairo trying to help refugees. The author cleverly juxtaposes the characters, however, by having them work in organizations with very different methods for aiding those in need. A couple characters, Charlie and Aos, are lawyers who work day and night to help their clients create applications for asylum, and they send their applications to another character, Hana, who works in a government organization, the one that accepts or denies the previously mentioned applications. In this way, the author puts the characters at odds with one another and creates a narrative tension that builds throughout the book, all the while helping the reader to consider the bureaucratic red tape that refugees must encounter every day. All the characters feel that they work really hard and don't help nearly enough, and all are willing to take unorthodox steps in order to help one particular character, Dalia. The novel is the story of all these characters, but it's also a love story and a story about the effects of terrorism. Overall, the storyline itself was excellent, and I find the idea of the novel to be unique and engaging. The only thing I didn't like about this novel was that I found some of the character's actions hard to believe. For example, when Hana went from refusing to even consider accepting Dalia's application to breaking the law in order to do so, all in a matter of minutes and based on a short visit with Dalia in which she didn't even reveal the terrible trauma she had endured. I didn't buy that. I also didn't buy the way Aos changed his mind so dramatically. That said, I found Omran to be a very engaging and sympathetic character, and I full believed his reaction to his own trauma and its outcome. I really liked this novel, but I wish that we could see a bit more of the behind-the-scenes that would explain a bit more about what some of the characters were thinking.
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  • Eric Sutton
    June 22, 2017
    A strong debut. I thought the characters were well-drawn and representative of all sides of a complex and ever-evolving issue. With all that is happening concerning refugee migrations, this is an important book to help understand the bureaucracy and red tape that non-profit organizations and refugees alike have to fight through. The author balances the political and the personal quite well. Some chapters were a bit drawn-out, meant to further characterize but done so to an unnecessary extent (to A strong debut. I thought the characters were well-drawn and representative of all sides of a complex and ever-evolving issue. With all that is happening concerning refugee migrations, this is an important book to help understand the bureaucracy and red tape that non-profit organizations and refugees alike have to fight through. The author balances the political and the personal quite well. Some chapters were a bit drawn-out, meant to further characterize but done so to an unnecessary extent (to be fair, I read an advanced copy withholding over 800 edits). Ultimately, though, he's entered territory that few American writers seem to understand or tackle, and in our polemical climate - where we are quick to stereotype without any sort of context - he gives voice and varying perspectives (and, ultimately, empathy) to a crisis that remains mysterious and frightening to many, and will define the humanity of our age.
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  • Lillian Li
    May 18, 2017
    One of the riskiest emotions a novel can provoke is anger. Anger undoes the reader's illusion of safety, passivity, and witness. Anger provokes us to act, or to continue not-acting—it forces choice even, and especially, when we choose to do nothing at all. Ian Bassingthwaite's debut takes this risk again and again, plunging the reader into the illogical and inhumane systems of refugee resettlement, into the heart of the Egyptian revolution, and into a world where no small act goes without enormo One of the riskiest emotions a novel can provoke is anger. Anger undoes the reader's illusion of safety, passivity, and witness. Anger provokes us to act, or to continue not-acting—it forces choice even, and especially, when we choose to do nothing at all. Ian Bassingthwaite's debut takes this risk again and again, plunging the reader into the illogical and inhumane systems of refugee resettlement, into the heart of the Egyptian revolution, and into a world where no small act goes without enormous consequence. But Bassingthwaite also shows us that anger is the necessary root of so much that is good. Without anger, there is no loyalty. No patriotism, love, or hope. In sculpting a world in which anger has the potential to bring flowers, and characters that deeply deserve such blossoms, Live From Cairo gives us not the answers to our anger, but the power to look for those answers ourselves. Some books live on in memory only; this one, I hope, will live on in the actions it inspires.
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  • Annie
    July 2, 2017
    There are some jobs I know I could never perform: therapist, dental hygienist, anything to do with child protective services. I’m not strong enough for those jobs. After reading Live from Cairo, by Ian Bassingthwaighte, I have to add another to the list. I will never be able to be one of the people who decides which refugees move on to a safe country and which have to stay behind. Live from Cairo tells the story of two people who try to help refugees as they get try to help one woman reunite wit There are some jobs I know I could never perform: therapist, dental hygienist, anything to do with child protective services. I’m not strong enough for those jobs. After reading Live from Cairo, by Ian Bassingthwaighte, I have to add another to the list. I will never be able to be one of the people who decides which refugees move on to a safe country and which have to stay behind. Live from Cairo tells the story of two people who try to help refugees as they get try to help one woman reunite with her husband at the same time as the 2011 Egyptian Revolution grows increasingly violent...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    July 18, 2017
    Read this for a different view of the refugee crisis. Bashingthwaite has chosen Cairo in 2011 as his setting but the deep differences and problems for those seeking to resettle in the US have echoed around the world and are only growing worse. He's created an extremely sympathetic figure in Dalia. The others, Charlie, Ans, Hana, are also well drawn. This isn't the easiest novel in the world but it's going to make you think about the people we've all seen on the news. The chaos of Cairo and the c Read this for a different view of the refugee crisis. Bashingthwaite has chosen Cairo in 2011 as his setting but the deep differences and problems for those seeking to resettle in the US have echoed around the world and are only growing worse. He's created an extremely sympathetic figure in Dalia. The others, Charlie, Ans, Hana, are also well drawn. This isn't the easiest novel in the world but it's going to make you think about the people we've all seen on the news. The chaos of Cairo and the craziness of the situation could have overwhelmed a less facile author but Bassingthwaite has made good use of his own experiences. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Juliette Gerstein
    May 8, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. I chose it partly to get an insight into Egyptian politics and into the experience of refugees. I thought it was really well written, and I enjoyed the fact that the characters were all complex and not perfect. I felt invested in them and keen to find out what happened.The story also carried us through an interesting time in Egyptian politics, although it stayed relatively light on detail. However, I felt you got a wonderful flavour of the city I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. I chose it partly to get an insight into Egyptian politics and into the experience of refugees. I thought it was really well written, and I enjoyed the fact that the characters were all complex and not perfect. I felt invested in them and keen to find out what happened.The story also carried us through an interesting time in Egyptian politics, although it stayed relatively light on detail. However, I felt you got a wonderful flavour of the city.
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  • Kate
    July 12, 2017
    A stunning read from beginning to end. The story sails through some of the most pressing issues of our times, unjustified war to global migration crisis, Arab Spring to the tenuous dream of a human rights regime. Yet the story finds its center in a few unforgettable characters. Converging on a city in crisis, each must make a choice whether to play by rules that do not admit our shared humanity. The reader will be by turns uplifted, devastated, and haunted by their struggle to make a life in thi A stunning read from beginning to end. The story sails through some of the most pressing issues of our times, unjustified war to global migration crisis, Arab Spring to the tenuous dream of a human rights regime. Yet the story finds its center in a few unforgettable characters. Converging on a city in crisis, each must make a choice whether to play by rules that do not admit our shared humanity. The reader will be by turns uplifted, devastated, and haunted by their struggle to make a life in this world. Beautifully crafted, clear-eyed, and profoundly wise. A must-read.
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  • Andrea
    June 19, 2017
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The setting is Cairo, 2011, post-Mubarak. The impossibility of the refugee situation paired with the ongoing crisis in Cairo. "..an impulsive American attorney [Charlie], a methodical Egyptian translator [Aos], and a disillusioned Iraqi-American resettlement officer [Hana] trying to protect a refugee [Dalia] who finds herself trapped in Cairo during the turbulent aftermath of the January 25 revolution." And Dalia's husband, Omr I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The setting is Cairo, 2011, post-Mubarak. The impossibility of the refugee situation paired with the ongoing crisis in Cairo. "..an impulsive American attorney [Charlie], a methodical Egyptian translator [Aos], and a disillusioned Iraqi-American resettlement officer [Hana] trying to protect a refugee [Dalia] who finds herself trapped in Cairo during the turbulent aftermath of the January 25 revolution." And Dalia's husband, Omran, who waits for her in the US.The book lost some power with what seemed to me continuous sameness. Perhaps this was the desparation of the situation and the driving force of the novel--how to get Dalia reunited with her husband in the US via the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)Dense, relentless, repetitive, heartbreaking, with occasionally brilliant phrases and descriptions. A few: "parallel parking required a surgical touch..." [Mustafa, the cab driver--there's a lot with driving--he also annihilates and pulverizes a gas pedal.]"... a large man made giant by his fury...""Stories are great weights unless told often.""...eyes were also strawberry, or at least felt like strawberries. Almost granular.""...completely irrigated wth boxed wine..."and many moreBUT. This should have been a compelling story and sometimes I just slogged through it. Powerful, yes. Believable, absolutely. This is the kind of story I love. Nonetheless, at times it felt flat.
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  • Tom Rogan
    July 30, 2017
    Received as a Goodreads giveaway winner...Thank you!
  • Wendy Cato
    July 24, 2017
    I felt like a burden was lifted when I finished this novel.
  • Melissa Dee
    March 9, 2017
    The major characters of this novel, Hana, Charlie, Dalia, Omran and Aos are an immensely likable group of humanly flawed people, trying to do their best in the maddening, dangerous, contradictory world of Egypt’s Revolution. Bassingwaighte’s vivid descriptions bring Cairo to life with its protestors, refugees, UNHCR, soldiers and ultimately just people.
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  • Kristin Kiessling
    February 22, 2017
    I received an advanced copy of this story from NetGalley. It's a beautifully written story that really made me grateful for all that I have. Taking place in 2011 in Cairo Egypt at the ending of President Mubarak's term where Conditions were unpleasantly rough, and a dangerous and brutal military was in existence. Many upon many refugees were seeking out new lives in other countries with the help of the Refugee Relief Project and the United Nations High Commission For Refugees. In this story we a I received an advanced copy of this story from NetGalley. It's a beautifully written story that really made me grateful for all that I have. Taking place in 2011 in Cairo Egypt at the ending of President Mubarak's term where Conditions were unpleasantly rough, and a dangerous and brutal military was in existence. Many upon many refugees were seeking out new lives in other countries with the help of the Refugee Relief Project and the United Nations High Commission For Refugees. In this story we are introduced to Dalia a refugee who's husband (Omran) had already gone to America, and Charlie, Aos, and Hana, those who try to help Dalia get to America so she could start a new life with her husband. When Dalia's partition to resettle gets denied, these three people make a tremendous effort to help Dalia to get to America, doing things they wouldn't normally do, even risking their own lives and putting their careers in danger. In the end, all lives are changed and Dalia and her husband are now together in Cairo until they come up with another plan to start a new life! "God willing" they make it! Thank you NetGalley for making this story available to me!!!
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  • Siobhan
    January 30, 2017
    Live From Cairo is a gripping novel about Egypt after the revolution in 2011, told through the human consequences of one woman trying to escape Egypt on her path from Iraq to America to join her husband. The novel is about the way in which the characters - Dalia, her husband Omran, and those caught up in their story - hope and concoct a plan to try and get Dalia out of Cairo.Despite the political realities of the book and the frequent depictions of the protesters and the army in Egypt, the novel Live From Cairo is a gripping novel about Egypt after the revolution in 2011, told through the human consequences of one woman trying to escape Egypt on her path from Iraq to America to join her husband. The novel is about the way in which the characters - Dalia, her husband Omran, and those caught up in their story - hope and concoct a plan to try and get Dalia out of Cairo.Despite the political realities of the book and the frequent depictions of the protesters and the army in Egypt, the novel is really focused not just upon Cairo but upon the whole situation in the Middle East and Africa and the way in which it affects individuals as people, with hope and love and friendship. Hana, the Iraqi-American UN worker tasked with dealing with Dalia’s case, has her own family trauma from previous conflict in Iraq, a reminder that the more recent conflicts are nothing new. The American lawyer fighting for Dalia, Charlie, and his Egyptian friend and colleague Aos complete the main cast of characters, all individuals from different places and backgrounds drawn together in Cairo. The book’s style is light and straightforward; it gives a lot more weight to positive emotion and hope than despair or the harsh stories of both main and smaller characters. Live From Cairo is not a deep look at political unrest or a humanitarian crisis, but it a book about people and an enjoyable novel, all the whilst highlighting an issue that is just as prescient today as it was in 2011.
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  • Ann Theis
    July 28, 2017
    Kirkus LJ
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