Live from Cairo

Ian Bassingthwaighte. Scribner, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4687-9
Bassingthwaighte’s expansive first novel plunges straight into the heart of Cairo in the throes of the Arab Spring of 2011. Told from multiple perspectives, this searing tale follows several well-meaning, but perhaps unequipped, young people as they try to forge a path to freedom for Dalia, an Iraqi refugee separated from her husband, who is waiting for her in Boston. Hana, an Iraqi-American resettlement officer, first denies Dalia’s application to leave Egypt, citing strict rules, in spite of her awareness of Dalia’s harrowing experiences of rape and torture. Charlie, Dalia’s American attorney, who is passionate about Dalia’s case and overwhelmed by the existential futility of his job, convinces his earnest Egyptian translator, Aos, and eventually the skeptical Hana that they should go to whatever lengths necessary to see to it that this deserving refugee finds relief and happiness. But Cairo is a volatile, dangerous place, the streets full of protestors and vicious policemen, and Charlie’s plan spirals out of control. The author paints a deep and empathetic picture of the inner struggles of his courageous, flawed characters, who in the midst of mortal danger and insurmountable odds, grapple with the most fundamental questions of right and wrong. The answers follow neither rules nor laws, making the climax to this novel breathtaking and heartrending. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 07/11/2017
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-5011-4689-3
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