Beautifully written. Not a typical Jews in peril memoir. Lagnado tells of an influential prosperous family, and not necessarily an happy one, must leave their comforts in Cairo and relocate. After months of indecision and lack of familial support the decision to come to the United States is made and forever changes their lives. Not an easy move for a family set in their ways and religious faith, yet they survive. Some stagnate, like the father, where others flourish.
In this memoir, Lucette Lagnado looks back longingly at a time and place--and a family--that she hardly knew, but that shaped her life. This is the story of old Cairo and also the story of Lagnado's father, both of whom she came to know when they were about to change forever. When she was born in the late 1950's, Egypt was about to be taken over by its right-wing military leaders, her father was about to have an accident that would make him old and crippled before his time.
Lagnado sets the scene by describing Cairo and her father as they were in the war years--energetic, cosmopolitan, wealthy--and paints a idyllic picture of the Jewish community in Cairo as it was under British rule. Her family flourished there. But after the military coup, Jewish families were driven out of Egypt, and Lagnado's family wandered first to Paris and then to Brooklyn, never able to recapture the sense of home and belonging they'd had in Egypt.
This is foremost a story about Lagnado's larger-than-life father, the man in the sharkskin suit, told by an adored and adoring youngest daughter, and the reader comes to admire his courage as he faces tremendous challenges in his new life. This story stayed with me, I recommend it.