*** Out of Egypt by Andre Aciman

When I read the novel Harvard Square, I thought that it did not work well as a novel but might as a memoir — and indeed  Out of Egypt: A Memoir by the author is wonderful. It tells of his growing up in Alexandria, Egypt in a large, rich, Jewish family originally from Turkey and full of eccentric characters.  It reminded me of The Arrogant Years, which also tells of a Jewish family’s expulsion from Egypt in the 60s, but the family circumstances are much different and this book focuses on life in Egypt, which the author is able to evoke most vividly, from the little cabins on the beach  to the private schools where no Arabic is every spoken — and indeed much of the family seems to live in a bubble of French, English, or Ladino — but no Arabic whatsoever. Skip Harvard Square and read this instead.

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