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Midnight in Cairo Reviews

Midnight in Cairo by Raphael Cormack

Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt's Roaring '20s

Raphael Cormack

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1 review

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publication date: 19 Mar 2021
ISBN: 9780393541137

A vibrant portrait of the talented and entrepreneurial women who defined an era in Cairo.

4 stars out of 5
1 May 2021

"(An) account of the spirited, spiky women of a vanished cosmopolitan Egypt"

Cairo was once famous for the gaiety of its social life and the quality of its entertainment. Even now, Egypt’s television is a byword, the popularity of its dramas making the local dialect as well understood as formal Arabic across the Middle East. I already knew that the Cairo Opera House, built by the westernising Khedive Ismail in 1869 and where Verdi premiered Aida, became the hub of a district of theatres and, later, cinemas. What Raphael Cormack, a young British author with a PhD in Egyptian theatre, has done in Midnight in Cairo is to turn his academic researches into a spectacular parade of the extraordinary, bold and brash Egyptian women who shot to fame in the early years of globalised celebrity culture.