The Cairo House

Samia Serageldin

The brilliant, haunting and fascinating story of a pre-eminent and large family, Cairo society post-war onwards and Egyptian politics.

‘While I was writing the book, I thought the title was something I could decide on later. But in effect I realized that I would only know what the book was about when I knew what the title was. And the title is The Cairo House because the novel, for me, is about an entire era in Egyptian twentieth century history that witnessed the rise, and fall, of the nationalist movement, party politics, and the Egyptian landowning bourgeoisie. The history and fate of the house reflect this pivotal era that spanned a century and came to an end with the passing away of the last Pasha at the turn of the 21st century.’ Samia Serageldin

Reviews of The Cairo House

    • ‘Wonderfully evocative and grounded in a strong sense of place.’ Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls
    • ‘The postwar history of Egypt is skillfully woven into this evocative first novel’s portrayal of a wealthy Cairo family’s susceptibility to the winds of political change… Serageldin’s richly observed study of a family and culture in transition and crisis succeeds both as ironical Proustian reminiscence and as a telling exploration of the ambiguities of status, loyalty, and belonging’ Kirkus Reviews
    • ‘Serageldin sets this beautifully crafted novel in Anwar Sadat’s Egypt… Serageldin focuses on Gigi, who is born in a country with rapidly changing culture and ideals, moves to London and the US, but never feels that any of these places is home. The novel is a great find… for any reader interested in Egyptian culture, flawlessly rendered prose, or just a good read.’ Choice
    • ‘This novel is about the personal changes – births, growing up, growing old, deaths – that make exiles of us all. Serageldin does a wonderful job of evoking Gigi’s Cairo milieu.’ Booklist
    • ‘Using a beautiful prose style, Serageldin makes Gigi’s problems vivid and real. This semi-autobiographical novel…is fascinating and highly entertaining.’ Library Journal
    • ‘Serageldin’s perceptive insights into the women who “have more than one skin” enrich this narrative of displaced and out-of-place women – expatriate intellectuals both spiritually and physically.’ The Middle East Journal
    • ‘Beautifully written, haunting and evocative…a bittersweet reflection on the ability to feel comfortable in many cultures but at home in none. Serageldin’s command of the cultural and linguistic layers of her narrative is masterful.’ Topics Tip World