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Playing Cards In Cairo: Mint Tea, Tarneeb and Tales of the City by [Miles, Hugh]
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Playing Cards In Cairo: Mint Tea, Tarneeb and Tales of the City Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 286 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

** 'Behind the veil are the frustrations, fads, fashions and fallibilities familiar to women the world over. Miles is a loving listener, whose understanding of the Islamic world is sharpened by tea and sympathy (THE TIMES)

** 'Playing Cards mixes personal vignettes with an informed overview of Egyptian politics, and although unflinching about Cairo's problems, Miles shows his affection for this great city of every page. (FINANCIAL TIMES)

** 'An intriguing read and, as an introduction to Egyptian life, it's fascinating (DAILY MAIL)

** 'Miles should be applauded for telling their stories so compellingly, and for giving us such a detailed insight into their everyday lives. (SCOTSMAN)

Book Description

* A unique insider's account of the drama of Muslim women's lives from the award-winning author of AL-JAZEERA

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1042 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (17 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O0U53O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #356,496 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It was always going to be difficult and controversial for an Englishman to write a book about Egyptian women, but Hugh Miles manages it brilliantly. Placing himself and his relationship with one of them at the heart of his story, he never lets his readers forget the perspective from which the world he describes is being viewed.

Miles lets us in through the back door to eavesdrop on young middle-class Egyptian women talking about their lives. And their lives aren't easy: they have to cope with authoritarian husbands and brothers; one of them is addicted to prescription drugs; another is suffering from the after-effects of botched plastic surgery.

It's not all hardship, however. We also learn about their hopes, dreams, secret lovers and, above all, their friendships with each other which sustain them.

A consummate journalist, Miles lets the people he's writing about, people whose voices are rarely heard, speak for themselves.

This is an important and groundbreaking book.
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Format: Paperback
This book has the potential to appeal to a lot of different people. From the outside it looks like a romance that belongs in the travel section or perhaps the cards and games shelf of your local bookshop.

But the card games of the title (which enabled Hugh Miles to meet and fall in love with an Egyptian girl) are just a device, the narrative key to a treasure trove of stories about the lives and loves of women in Muslim society. The result is a compassionate book, very funny at times and truly shocking at others, which provides an outstanding documentary insight into a topic that is a mystery to most of us in the west, and it would seem, a taboo subject for many Muslim men.

The characters and relationships illustrate the difficulties that Egyptian women face (such as trying to find a suitable boy while under the vigilant discipline of one's own family) and - brilliantly and wonderfully - how they rise above those problems. The women's ingenuity and spirit as they subtly resist and defy their own fathers and brothers is inspiring and moving.

Miles had a privileged insider's view because the girl he fell in love with was unusually free of family ties and thus more able than most to associate with a foreign man. The women whose stories he tells are literate, metropolitan and relatively liberal, and I am sure that there are millions of women who have an even tougher time in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world.

This is a stunning, informative, insider's look at real lives in a society that I knew almost nothing about. Miles has unlocked the secrets and I will never feel the same again when I see a woman in a headscarf.
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Format: Paperback
This book definitely deserves a 5! It addresses concerns which Egyptians, especially female Cairenes are unable to overtly discuss. It bluntly brings to the surface the day-to-day challenges that face women in correlation with society's unspoken traditional rules made by men.

Playing Cards in Cairo is a true outlook of real encouters of many families - Hugh Miles has done an excellent piece of work once again; this time by integrating a more personal experience making it more real for the reader.
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Format: Paperback
Having lived in Cairo for some time, I have to say that some of Hugh Miles' information about Cairo and Islam is... Just. Not. True.
Firstly, he mentions that all Egyptians have their religion marked in their passport -not true. The "school for Sudanese refugees" he mentions is not in fact, a school for Sudanese refugees, but the British International School opposite a church that houses Sudanese refugees. It is not really THAT unusual for a Western man to date an Egyptian woman of a certain class -in fact, I knew many people in such unions and it never raised even the most conservative of eyebrows. Yet he harps on about it as if he's breaking new ground. Egypt has been a cultural crossroads and has seen more cultures and tribes pass through it than it can keep up with so mixed marriages are pretty unremarkable.
Also, if he knew ANYTHING about Egyptian cultural identity then he wouldn't keep refering to Egyptians as Arabs. Egyptians refer to themselves as Egyptians (Masryeen) and to people from the Gulf as Arabs (el-Arab), clearly indicating that the former possess a unique cultural heritage that separate them from the latter. Why can he not accept that modern Egyptians (both Muslim and Coptic) are descendants of the Pharaohs with lots of other stuff thrown in for good measure? I think it is insulting to deny a people their history. Egyptians do NOT consider people from the Gulf "their cousins" as Mr. Miles mentions at the end of the book -talk to any Egyptian and they can confirm this. I guess for him though, one brown person isn't any differnt from the next and so for convenience sake, easier just to stick them into one bag. It's what Bush wants you to believe anyway.
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Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure if I should buy this book after having seen it at the bookstore more than 3 months ago, but decided it might be an interesting read for last week's Eid El Fitr vacation and it was.
It's an easy read and a real page-turner taking me nearly three days to finish. I quite enjoyed sitting around the cards' table with the gang and listening in to what was going on in the girls' heads.
It is beautifully written and gives genuine insider's views on the lives of Egyptians today.
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