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Out of Egypt: A Memoir

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    .......a quest for survival......,

    I read these memoirs with strict concentration on all features of the environment that provided the interesting material to this book. <BR/><BR/>From childhood of elderly relatives that was somewhat unhappy and bordering on deprivation, the family living off charity, in areas where the primary social groups' life revealed a pattern of neglect, moral degradation, and disregard for law. <BR/><BR/>I watched a collection of things making people of the same feather sharing a common attribute. Perhaps I should say that a small part of these features I lived myself (1952-56). The message Andre Aciman is giving me is also addressed to every member of a clan feeling alien in the environment in which one was found, and resisted to share. <BR/><BR/>You are taken back in time to the beginning of the twentieth century until the mid fifties. I never felt strange to uncle Vili, Aunt Clara, or Tante Lotte, like these people exist in the annals of many families' chronological account of events in any successive years. <BR/><BR/>How much true it is when one had become a success story and thus an object of intense jealousy on the part of his less fortunate confreres. One would definitely feel better off to keep ones apart from ones fellows. <BR/>Walking on tight ropes during WWII to keep balance between complete annihilation and survival is not impossible, or unethical, though the uncomplimentary remarks Uncle Vili used to make about the warring parties - about them both - in private, now remained no secret. We all tend to do the same thing when cornered; won't we? This is legitimate quest for survival amid a world run in madness, Uncle Vili appeared uncomplicated enough. <BR/><BR/>Those were the people we came to know in Egypt in the mid-fifties, their private life, their intimate charm, their gentleness, their direct and affectionate manner, their kindness and modesty which remained unchanged even at the very height of their predicaments. <BR/><BR/>We knew people like Uncle Vili, their sense of humor, coupled with caustic wit with their servants - Egyptians and/or Sudanese - that their good nature forsook them and their tongue became capable of mordant, wounding remarks. In the company of their intimate friends, they would throw off the habitual reserve they displayed on public occasions and behave like the big boy scouts which they remained in one corner of their personality - Pashas attitudes. <BR/><BR/>Andre Aciman: I salute you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    Passover in slow motion

    I don't read 1000 books a year and don't attend book clubs, so my opinion is not supported by qualifications. Out of Egypt is a sweet and sour collection of portraits and memories of a world gone by, that of Egypt of the 1960's. It is a world of errand jews facing the precariousness of their condition with humour, sadness and resourcefulness. It is also a meditation on identity and how it is shaped by what may seem fickle details of early life. Last but not least, it is also very funny and will keep you company well after your will have turned the book's final page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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