Letters from Cairo
Letters from Cairo is a vivid memoir of American experience of Nasser’s Egypt, seen through the eyes of two expat academics who navigate the epiphanies, adventures, and paradoxes of a country at a critical turning point.
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In his pathbreaking work on human geography, Yi-Fu Tuan asserts that through our multitude of sensory experiences, spaces go from being vague abstractions to increasingly defined and meaningful places. Across our lives, we might undergo this process of converting spaces into places countless times, yet it is exceptionally rare to step into another’s experiences as this transformation unfolds. It is just the sort of privileged intimacy that Letters from Cairo offers, complementing the personal memoirs of Edward Said, his sister Jean, Leila Ahmed, Penelope Lively, and Olivia Manning.
This genre-bending collection is part book, part archive, part reflective essay. Its editor, Laura Dolp, helps us reconsider how new technologies allow us to rethink the archival collection, less as something cloistered and instead as something shared and creative. The result is a kind of accessible and revelatory material archive, striking in its beautiful simplicity … a collection that is itself a piece of art.
—Annalise DeVries, author of Maadi: The Making and Unmaking of a Cairo Suburb, 1879–1962