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The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A…
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The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from… (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Lucette Lagnado

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3601630,197 (3.84)27
Member:Chatterbox
Title:The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World (P.S.)
Authors:Lucette Lagnado
Info:Harper Perennial (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Library Books
Rating:
Tags:Memoir, Egypt, History, Brooklyn Public Library, Books by People I Know

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The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World by Lucette Lagnado (2007)

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  cavlibrary | Jan 27, 2014 |
I read this book a second time for a different book group. I liked the journalistic writing, and appreciated learning what Lognado's immigrant family experienced. ( )
  suesbooks | Jul 30, 2011 |
A poignant memoir of a Jewish family in Egypt severely impacted by the exodus demanded when Nassar came to power. Well narrated with great love and fine detail. ( )
  maureen61 | Jul 11, 2011 |
Definately a book my mother would have loved. Immigrant Jews. Set in WWII era. I dont usually read memoirs, but I found this entertaining. The author delved into all the characters so I really had a feel and an understanding of each of them. ( )
  bermandog | Jun 9, 2011 |
Lagnado's captivating account of her family's life in cosmopolitan Cairo and painful relocation to America centers on her beloved father. Dashing man-about-town Leon Lagnado, who kept to his carousing ways even after marrying a beautiful women 22 years his junior, was enraptured at the age of 55 by the author, his fourth child; affectionately called Loulou, she became her father's companion, even at temple services and the Nile Hilton bar. But the Suez war in 1956 and the Nasser regime's cultural holocaust began forcing Jews from their native Egypt. Leon's injury in a fall and Loulou's mysterious illness (first diagnosed as cat scratch fever, eventually found to be something far worse) delayed the Lagnados' departure until 1963, when they arrived in New York with $212, the maximum they were allowed to take out of Egypt; and Leon, once a prosperous, independent businessman and investor, was reduced to selling ties on the street. In Lagnado's accomplished hands, this personal account illuminates its places and times, providing indelible individual portraits and illustrating the difficulty of assimilation. An exceptional memoir. Leber, Michele ( )
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  caroren | Feb 17, 2011 |
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Epigraph
And the Children of Israel wept and said: "Who will feed us meat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free of charge, and the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now, our life is parched, and there is nothing. We have nothing to anticipate but manna."

-- Numbers 11:4-6
It was then that I stood up in the theater and shouted: "Don't do it. It's not too late to change your minds, both of you. Nothing good will come of it, only remorse, hatred, scandal, and two children whose characters are monstrous."
--Delmore Schwartz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
Dedication
To my husband, Douglas Feiden,

and to the memory of Leon and Edith
First words
Edith was seated outdoors at La Parisiana, Cairo's most popular café, enjoying a café turque with her mother, when she noticed the man in white.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006082218X, Paperback)

Lucette Lagnado's father, Leon, is a successful Egyptian businessman and boulevardier who, dressed in his signature white sharkskin suit, makes deals and trades at Shepherd's Hotel and at the dark bar of the Nile Hilton. After the fall of King Farouk and the rise of the Nasser dictatorship, Leon loses everything and his family is forced to flee, abandoning a life once marked by beauty and luxury to plunge into hardship and poverty, as they take flight for any country that would have them.

A vivid, heartbreaking, and powerful inversion of the American dream, Lucette Lagnado's unforgettable memoir is a sweeping story of family, faith, tradition, tragedy, and triumph set against the stunning backdrop of Cairo, Paris, and New York.

Winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and hailed by the New York Times Book Review as a "brilliant, crushing book" and the New Yorker as a memoir of ruin "told without melodrama by its youngest survivor," The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit recounts the exile of the author's Jewish Egyptian family from Cairo in 1963 and her father's heroic and tragic struggle to survive his "riches to rags" trajectory.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Lagnado re-creates the cosmopolitan glamour of Cairo in the years between World War II and Nasser's rise to power. Her father, Leon, was a boulevardier who conducted business in his signature white sharkskin suit on the elegant terrace of Shepheard's Hotel, and later, in the cozy, dark bar of the Nile Hilton. But with the fall of King Farouk, Leon and his family lose everything. As streets are renamed, neighborhoods of their fellow Jews disbanded, and the city purged of foreign influence, the Lagnados, too, must make their escape. With all of their belongings packed into 26 suitcases, their jewels and gold coins hidden in sealed tins of marmalade, Leon and his family depart for any land that will take them. The poverty and hardships they encounter in their flight from Cairo to Paris to New York are strikingly juxtaposed against the beauty and comforts of the lives they left behind.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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