- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (June 26, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060822120
- ISBN-13: 978-0060822125
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 283 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 26, 2007
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From The New Yorker
This memoir of an Egyptian Jewish familys gradual ruin is told without melodrama by its youngest survivor, now a reporter at the Wall Street Journal. Lagnados story hinges on her father, "the Captain," who cut a dashing figure in mid-century Cairo, consorting with British officers and Egyptian royalty at French cafés while his family, neglected, stayed home. At first refusing to join the tide of Jews fleeing Egypt under the Nasser regime, the Captain finally yields, in 1963, when the family escapes to Paris and then Brooklyn. Deprived of wealth, status, and any means of coping, Lagnados father fades, but he never loses his air of chivalry, manifested in a regular outflow of tiny checks to charitable causesorphanages, vocational schools, and dowry funds for poor girlsoverseas. "As if the Captain were capable of rescuing anyone," his daughter writes.
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*Starred Review* 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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It is so eloquently written, that reading paragraph after paragraph, is like listening to a beautifully composed piece of music. If you love a good book you'll love this one!
cosmopolitan Cairo which he adopted as his dream town. Life there with his family is good. His ways of life are tolerated. Secondly we
learnt how hard it was to get to the United States, when after world War ll Jews were undesirable in Egypt. It was an almost year long, arduous and degrading process till he and his family received the immigration permits in Paris. Then: the Welcome in the NEW World was limited and short lived. Like the majority of immigrants with no help from already adapted families, the gentleman from Cairo sought refuge in a Jewish neighborhood where he could find the food he was used to, even the ground floor apartment and the temple needed according to his Aleppo Jewish version.Like many, he and his wife remained immigrants while his sons and worse his oldest daughter moved out. Lesson: only the second generations merge,
and like the youngest daughter, who told us this fascinating story of many, but, in this case ,highly individual story, succeed.She became an American. But going back to Cairo, where she wanted to revisit the dream city of her beloved father, she did not find it. It had changed.