The Sun at Midday: Tales of a Mediterranean Family

Gini Alhadeff

Published by Anchor, 2004
ISBN 10: 1400034604 / ISBN 13: 9781400034604
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Synopsis: For Gini Alhadeff, there was rarely a difference between feeling at home and feeling foreign. Born to an Italian family in Alexandria, Egypt, she lived in places as far-flung as Cairo, Khartoum, Florence, and Tokyo; raised Catholic, she did not learn of her Sephardic Jewish roots until she was living in New York in her twenties. In The Sun at Midday, Alhadeff traces her unusual ancestral history, seeking the source of her chameleon-like skills of adaptation. Through the reminiscences of family members—among them cousin Pierre, a worldly priest and celebrity confessor who recalls the sumptuous lives of Alexandrian ex-pats, and her uncle Nissim, now a gynecologist in Queens, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust—she unearths a wealth of rich and strange stories. Woven together with exhilarating prose, they form an uncommonly affecting memoir of a family whose past defies summation, and of Alhadeff’s own life both in it and apart from it.

Review: Alhadeff's prose is so wittily precise and casually elegant it's hard to believe she didn't learn English until she was 10--in Tokyo, of all places. Born in Egypt in 1951, educated in Italy, Japan, England, and America, the author comes from a family of cosmopolitan, multilingual Sephardic Jews who "considered ourselves primarily free to be anything we wished"--including Catholic. (Her parents, whose difficult marriage is unsentimentally portrayed, converted.) Lovingly acerbic tales about various wildly individualist relatives combine with personal history in a colorful narrative that trenchantly declares independence from the constraints of "ready-made identity."

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Title: The Sun at Midday: Tales of a Mediterranean ...
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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