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Out of Egypt: A Memoir
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Out of Egypt: A Memoir

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3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  596 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This richly colored memoir chronicles the exploits of a flamboyant Jewish family, from its bold arrival in cosmopolitan Alexandria to its defeated exodus three generations later. In elegant and witty prose, André Aciman introduces us to the marvelous eccentrics who shaped his life--Uncle Vili, the strutting daredevil, soldier, salesman, and spy; the two grandmothers, the P ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1980)
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Jan Rice
Unlike features of a landscape like trees and mountains, people have feet. They move to places where the opportunities are best, and they soon invite their friends and relatives to join them. This demographic mixing turns the landscape into a fractal, with minorities inside minorities inside minorities.
--Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature, p. 241


First read in 2008; given a thumbnail review in May, 2013:
Although I read this book in the past, I know the exact date for once, because in
...more
Cheryl
3.5 stars.

One benefit of reading this memoir is what you learn about the climate of Egypt after the Egyptian revolution and the Suez Canal Company debacle, how it must have felt for a Jewish-European family living and doing business in Egypt. I must admit, I liked False Papers better because I love Aciman as an essayist. I probably cheated though, because False Papers is what comes after Aciman's exile from Egypt.

Andre Aciman came of age in Egypt during Nasser's pan-Arabic and anti-imperialist
...more
Ruby Hollyberry
This book is utterly fascinating. This family of Turkish Jews speaks a form of Spanish (except the ones who speak German), tell people they are Italian, identify with France, and live in Alexandria Egypt, before leaving due to war and the same seizure of goods they suffered a generation or two earlier in Turkey. They have had many turns of fortune and fate, and the most successful family members double as spies/con artists as much as businessmen. The author is a much-loved, spoiled child of a ti ...more
يوسف زهدى
Jul 22, 2016 يوسف زهدى rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
A controversial humanitarian read, you can call it a story or a memorial (as the author did) or a partial biography of European Jewish family & community living in Alexandria - Egypt between the early years of the 20th century till the forced deportation of foreigners and Jews by Nasser regime (1900s-1960s).
Andre Aciman - family, extended family and community were rich Jews with European passports, they settled in Alexandria after moving from Turkey late in 1800s-eartly 1900s and established
...more
Don
Aug 29, 2009 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
André Aciman's memoir of growing up Jewish -- and speaking French -- in post-World War II Alexandria. His family had moved to that city from Constantinople in 1905, back when both cities lay within the Ottoman Empire. Aciman found his native city -- along with his family -- to be a treasure chest of strange sights, quirky personalities and bizarre events. He lovingly describes each of his dysfuntional family members, relying on his own memory,the memories of others, and stories and documentation ...more
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André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Condé Nast Traveler as well as in many volumes of The Best American Ess ...more
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