Set in Alexandria, this classic and much-loved memoir chronicles the exploits of Andre Aciman's colourful Sephardic Jewish family from its arrival in Egypt at the turn of the century to its forced departure three generations later. Aciman tells a story of childhood innocence, of intricate family life and the pain of exile from a place one loves. ...
Set in Alexandria, this classic and much-loved memoir chronicles the exploits of Andre Aciman's colourful Sephardic Jewish family from its arrival in Egypt at the turn of the century to its forced departure three generations later. Aciman tells a story of childhood innocence, of intricate family life and the pain of exile from a place one loves. His memories are adorned with eccentric characters: mysterious Uncle Vili - soldier, salesman, Italian Fascist and British spy; the two grandmothers, the Princess and the Saint, who gossip in six different languages; his melancholy Aunt Flora who warns that Jews lose everything 'at least twice in their lives'; and his father, who considers converting to Islam in order to stay in Alexandria. Elegant, beautifully-written, moving and witty, "Out of Egypt" bridges cultures and generations and provides a moving portrait of a by-gone world.
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-11-07 When Aciman, born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, was asked his nationality as a boy, he automatically replied, ``French.'' His confusion was understandable; his family were Sephardic Jews who had wandered from Italy to Turkey, then settled in Egypt. His father owned a woolen mill and his parents were very rich, as were the rest of the exotic clan who lived with them or gathered regularly for elegant, memorable teas, fetes and fierce but transient squabbling. Like Russian nobility of old, they disdained the common language. Few of them learned Arabic but preferred French, English, Ladino or Italian. They concealed their Jewishness when Nasser was in power, a time of high Arab nationalism, intense anti-Semitism and then war. Eventually they fled to Paris, leaving behind much of their wealth but little of their culture, which Aciman-his mother's darling, his teachers' despair, his father's worry, a child spy in a house of eccentric, cultivated adults-here recalls with a magical sensibility streaked with antic humor. A marvelous memento of a place, time and people that have all disappeared. (Jan.)
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