Live From Cairo

Live From Cairo

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:

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.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9781501146879
Characteristics: 323 pages :,map


From Library Staff

Bittersweet literary fiction set in Cairo, Egypt.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 20, 2018

DONT READ THIS=- too depressing for words and painful,like keeping jabbing a wound to see if it still hurts-the author has excellent skills, good characters and descriptions but gets seduced by the idea that every scene needs to be a whirlwind of action.

Live from Cairo by Ian Bassingthwaighte was about a young woman, named Dalia, who tried to flee to the United States to reunite with her husband. The book focused on the lives of the people who lived through the Egyptian Revolution. Dalia and her husband Omran was married in their village before the start of the Egyptian Revolution, after Omran was caught by the militia. Since Omran used to work for an American company, the militia portrayed him as an enemy, and tortured Omran badly which made him lost an eye. After all, when Dalia finally out Omran out and sent him to America, she was trapped in Egypt. Then, Dalia, who doesn’t have a job or visa in the States went to the Resettlement Centre and asked for reunion with her husband in the States. The paperworks were read by Hana, a new Iraqi-American volunteer in the office. After the interview, Dalia’s request was denied. One of Hana’s friend and admirer, Charlie, tried to help Hana out yet, can not resist Hana’s attraction to him. Omran and Hana’s relationship was also challenged since they have gone through so much and left each other for so long. Could Hana, safely go the States to meet her husband? Or could they ever meet again?

I was amazed at how the author wrote about daily lives of the people during the Egyptian Revolution. The experiences feel exotic yet it also gives humour to the story and the characters. The story plot was intense and made me feel as if I was there.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about love, choices, and faith. Although the stories in the book are nonfiction it gives the sense of how some people lived during the Egyptian Revolution and how love and faith could affect decisions.

- Ria C.

Oct 21, 2017

Live From Cairo has all the ingredients to make an enjoyable and thoughtful read. There is a first hand account of the refugee process in Cairo in 2011, conflict and revolution in the political arena, paperwork and bureaucracy in the resettlement office, and romance and relationships. Makes the reader contemplate the importance of one another. The story could have had greater ups and downs but came through in every other department.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at WPPL

To Top