Alec Scott's Reviews > The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado
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's review
Feb 19, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

Marvellous evocation of a series of times and places, especially Cairo from the 40s to 60s. We watch this Jewish family slowly become strangers in their homeland, until, finally they're forced to leave. The exile in Paris then in Brooklyn, is well sketched -- usually such tales of exile are just longing looks back at the Paradise Lost, not at all in the now or looking to the future. I much preferred this to Andre Asiman's Out of Egypt, which travelled some of the same ground -- although his family was in Alexandria, not Cairo. (Have a character of an Egyptian Jewish background, so have been reading everything I can get my hands on ...)

Writer a Wall Street Journal reporter, and the writing is generally spare, businessy, which somehow makes the bits where she couldn't resist some lyricism, sing even more. She's tough-minded in her thinking about the past, not at all woolly. And yet she loves the ones she loves unapologetically.
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