Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)
The Cairo Affair
I had read Olen Steinhauer's "The Tourist" which I enjoyed and so was interested in his latest novel. Overall, I thought the story was good. With most of the action taking place in Cairo right after the Arab Spring, it made the backdrop very current in scope. With the story being told by the different characters in their own "sections" of the book, there was some occasional repetition and the plot sometimes seemed to move forward a bit too slowly. But, the novel certainly did keep my interest all the way to the end. For me, it was not a quick read, rather it is a story that will make you think throughout.
Jan F. (Santa Rosa, CA)
The Cairo Affair
International intrigue done right! Sophie, the main character, is married to a U.S. foreign service officer. You sympathize with her as she flees to Cairo, looking for the truth. But who can she trust in a world where everyone speaks in half-truths and lies. And everyone seems to have at least one secret that needs to be kept. Even the name of the book means more than one thing. The story is told by several narrators, who carry the story forward and provide insights into Sophie and the other characters so you know them very well and understand why they act as they do. They also give you insight into the problem from many different perspectives, but it won't help you solve the mystery until the very end. This book was a great read and I need to find more of Steinhauer's books now.
Bess W. (Marlton, NJ)
An Affair to Remember
I was already a fan of Olen Steinhauer and was not disappointed with his new novel. The characters are well developed and having the story told from their various perspectives is interesting. The book is a fast paced spy novel with political intrigue.
Frederick M. (Wilmington, NC)
A wonderful spy thriller
I enjoyed this book more than any of Olen Steinhauer's since his original four Eastern Bloc stories. The technique of repeating the story from the perspective of multiple characters did take a few chapters to get used to, but, by the end of the story, I felt it had enhanced the narrative
Norman G. (Washougal, WA)
Hard to like
If you like well drawn characters, this book is not for you. If you like action or suspense, this book is not for you. If you like to feel comfortable or identify with someone in the story, this book is not for you. It is a timely story with a modicum of interest but I experienced difficulty in liking any person or portion of the plot involved in the book. I ended up rushing through the final 100 pages just to see how the author concluded the slight mystery. A clever and unexpected close but not enough to give satisfaction. I usually like almost any book but I would not recommend this version and do not even plan on saving my copy.
Judith B. (Omaha, NE)
Interesting but Tedious
The plot is interesting and timely, but it plods along while various characters repeat the story. I experienced reader fatigue and feel the book needs a good edit to share off at least 50-75 pages. Having a female character emerge from a supporting "wife" role to main character is interesting. The timeline is hard to follow. A map of the area would improve reader comprehension.
Carol J. (Isle, MN)
current day espionage
Must admit "The Cairo Affair" is on my re-read list. Truly a book one needs to read in one sitting in order to follow the characters and the flow. I felt I lost some nuance by reading it in too many sessions. A re-read, even though I know the twists, would help solidify the details of this very current book. Additionally, I wanted to have a timeline for the Arab Spring events available as I read the book.
The development of the main characters, Sophie, Emmett and Zora, from 1991 to the present is a glimpse into the maturation of idealists. Plus the long term effects of seminal incidents in the decisions one makes into the future.
An intriguing book. Looking forward to sharing it with my friends and some great discussions to follow.