Live From Cairo by Ian Bassingthwaighte
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.