Book 37 of 52: Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt’s Roaring ’20s by Raphael Cormack

In my last post, I said that I had two more reviews that would touch on my travel. Here’s the one of those.

I downloaded the audio book if Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt’s Roaring ’20s by Raphael Cormack for my road trip. I like to either listen to celebrities reading their memoirs, or books about slices of history that I might not sit down to read in physical form otherwise.

I knew about the Egyptology craze that took over the Brits (and Australians) in the 1920s because I’ve seen it depicted in historical shows like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. But I didn’t know why, exactly, and a part of that was the vibrant nightlife that existed in Cairo between the world wars, mostly on Emad al-​Din Street. Cormack shows that story by writing about the lives of women who worked in the clubs, theaters, and dance halls at the time, for better or for worse. It’s striking that some of their struggles, like bodily autonomy and financial freedom from men, is the same that many women face 100 years later. And of course depressing too.

Sounds fascinating right? But thee book never quite grabbed me. I don’t know if it was the material, that I was very interested in working through the back catalogue of the Knowledge Fight podcast instead, or I just realized I preferred to listen to music when driving in the afternoon (and there was a lot of afternoon driving). But when looking at my options of what to listen to, the book came last, which is why I wrapped it up when I was back home.

I feel bad even writing this review knowing it was probably mostly me and the circumstances, but since this blog is about the books that intersect with my life (and I didn’t read this one for work), and I want to be honest. If you’d like more info, of course you can listen to the book, or read an excerpt that appeared in Lithub.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

Leave a Comment