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Cairo by G. Willow Wilson
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Apr 11, 09

bookshelves: graphic-novel
Read in April, 2009

As a brief crash course into the thoughts and feelings of Egyptians, Americans, and Israelis, Cairo certainly goes a long ways. Though the book is too short to develop these characters fully or delve in depth into these themes (e.g. Egyptian govt. and journalism, Israel, suicide bombings, feelings toward Americans, and Orientalism), the novel is a good introduction to a more genuine look at the region that encourages Middle-Easterners to speak about the reality and for others to listen with humanity.

The novel accomplishes this with a 165-page romp heavily laced with Arabian Nights adventure, and while each character is interesting and different and faces his or her own dilemmas, even romances, the book length naturally limits the narrative from exploring these too deeply. The characters are more important as mouthpieces for the respective perspectives that they represent. I particularly liked the Arabic expressions scattered throughout. They lend the novel authenticity, as well as the subtle peppering of hints of Egyptian life. As someone else mentioned, I can definitely see influences of film in the book, particularly the dissolves from scene to scene. On a side note, I also liked Willow's nod to Spiders-Man, LOL. (Misspelling intended.)

The art leans towards realistic, precise and detailed. So readers who enjoy art along the lines of Fables with a few exaggerated crooks should enjoy this complete, black and white volume. I wasn't expecting much, particularly from a DC publication, but now I'm glad I read Cairo. I would recommend this even to people who have some knowledge of the social concerns in the region because an insider's view of these issues is rare. This is authored by an American commited to living in the region-- not an expatriot, a visitor or armchair journalist. Keeping in mind that these issues must be simplified to fit into such a short frame, still I think they expose readers to more than they will likely have seen or give readers food for thought.
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Reading Progress

04/10/2009 page 65
40.63% "Not bad so far. Few stereotypes. Only the message is about suicide bombing is very simplistic and not subtle at all."
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