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In this coming-of-age memoir about a privileged, protected childhood in the exotic milieu of 1950’s Egypt, author Jean Naggar describes a magical time that seemed as if it would never end. But Egypt’s nationalizing of the Suez Canal would set in motion events that would change her life forever.
An enchanted existence suddenly ended by international hostilities, her family is quickly scattered far and wide, and Naggar is eventually swept into adulthood and the challenge of new horizons in America. Speaking for a different wave of immigrants whose Sephardic origins explore the American Jewish story through an unfamiliar lens, Naggar traces her personal journey through lost worlds and difficult transitions, exotic locales and strong family values. The story resonates for all in this poignant exploration of the innocence of childhood in a world breaking apart.
“An intriguing way of life that no longer exists. Glamorous, exciting, filled with the sophisticated life of a Jewish family living in Europe and the Middle East, Naggar documents times of elegant lifestyles, to the tumultuous struggles of war...And like every family, there is passionate love and loss, but always there is the undercurrent of delight and an indomitable will to do more than just survive.” —US Review of Books
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Jean Naggar was born in Alexandria, Egypt. She grew up in Cairo and London, and later moved to New York City where she established the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc. in 1978. Her poetry has been featured in The Listener and Athanor. She has been published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Publishers Weekly, The Huffington Post, and Writers Digest. Jean is a member of the International Women's Forum, the Women's Media Group, PEN, and the AAR. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Serge Naggar, and is the mother of three and grandmother of seven.Review:
“Readers will rejoice in this memoir of a Jewish life and culture that, sadly, no longer exists. But even more, this exodus from Egypt is the great American success story, filled with fine vignettes and character studies. Sipping from the Nile is a moving and beautifully written account about how one smart, resilient outsider made her own way.” –Susan Isaacs, author of Past Perfect, Any Place to Hang My Hat, and Compromising Positions
"Jean Naggar’s memoir Sipping from the Nile brings the world of Egypt’s privileged class to us like a Downton Abbey set in Cairo. This is history told with the fluidity of poetry, the sensuality of life, and with empathy that resonates from an extended family determined to survive upheaval." -Emily Rubin, author of Stalina
“An intriguing way of life that no longer exists. Glamorous, exciting, filled with the sophisticated life of a Jewish family living in Europe and the Middle East, Naggar documents times of elegant lifestyles, to the tumultuous struggles of war. The book is beautifully written, with vivid descriptions of homes, meals, glamorous clothing and social events while living in Egypt, later on in England, and finally in New York City. The history of this extended family is a most interesting look at a loving, religious, educated culture. And like every family, there is passionate love and loss, but always there is the undercurrent of delight and an indomitable will to do more than just survive.” -US Review of Books
“In elegant prose and loving details, Jean Naggar has written a poignant memoir of an idyllic childhood in Egypt, her family’s politically fueled exodus from that paradise, and the forging of a new life in America.” –Hilma Wolitzer, author of Summer Reading, The Doctor’s Daughter, and Tunnel of Love
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