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Sipping from the Nile by Jean Naggar

By Pamelascott

Born into a prominent, sophisticated Jewish family who spend time in Europe and live in the Middle East, author Jean Naggar's coming of age memoir tells the story of her protected youth in an exotic multicultural milieu. To Naggar her childhood seemed a magical time that would never come to an end. But in 1956, Egyptian President Nasser's nationalizing of the Suez Canal set in motion events that would change her life forever.

An enchanted way of life suddenly ended by multinational hostilities, her close-knit extended family is soon scattered far and wide. Naggar's own family moves to London where she finishes her schooling and is swept into adulthood and the challenge of new horizons in America. Speaking for a different wave of immigrants whose Sephardic origins highlight 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.


[Sheets of rain slashed down the steep sides of apartment buildings, instantly forming rivers that flowed toward the gutters and pooled along the sidewalk] ***

(Lake Union Publishing, 14 February 2012, ebook, 382 pages, Prime Reading, my non-fiction choice for September)



This is my first time reading the author. I did really enjoy this memoir but not quite as much as I thought I would. I'm fascinated by Egyptian history and culture and thought I'd learn more about this reading Sipping from the Nile. The author's family were very affluent and lived a wealthy, privileged lifestyle. The memoir gives you a unique peek into their world. A general impression of the place and times was sadly lacking. I would have liked to know how the historical events of the Suez Canal in 1956 affected people from different walks of life. Yes, the author life is changed forever but the impact on them is not as big as it would have been for a less prominent family. Still, the book is fascinating at times. I did enjoy the brief glimpse in a different era and culture.

Sipping from Nile Jean Naggar

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