Yitzhak Gormezano Goren: Alexandrian Summer

Tholics and Greek Orthodox as Andre Aciman says in his introduction jostled ach other without scruplethe tussling was amicable Man, Son of Man enough and never deadly But no one was fooled for longDifferent as it is in style and scope there arechoes of the doomed glamour of Death in Venice I was reminded too of Naguib Mahfouz s Cairo trilogy and of Orhan Pahmuk s The Museum of Innocence both of which present a similarly rich and loving picture of the writer s home city and its cultural life and of the intimacies bonds and unspoken laws of family nestled within itAlexandrian Summer was first published in Hebrew in 1978 It s a classic of diaspora literature New Vessel Press has done us a great favour in bringing out this English version In the Alter Ego early 1950 s Alexandria was a multicultural city with a thriving Jewish community This story is a look into life in that community through two families Their life of horse racing night clubs restaurants is facing rising Egyptian nationalism and the uestion of whether tomigrate to Israel In a few years the military coup would install Gamal Nasser Interesting time and place Alexandria Egypt of the arly 1950sKind of the lull before the very big storm The many varied residents of the City actually got along in a sort of way but the lower cl This story is beautiful and the words are too voking strong feelings and imagery Very well written and translated Spoilers In reading the first few chapters I thought I wasn t going to love the book too much after all I thought the boys xplorations into homosexual sex was pretty unrealistic Would boys do that Yes I guess could believe that although awkward fumblings with hands and mouth would be believable Did they not feel pain But would all 5 boys And no one had any reservations at all I don t know Maybe Victor had charisma and ability to influence people than anybody realised As I read on I was able to put that aside because the other characters started to come alive The character who really touched me was JosephYusef His was a tragic story The other characters are all beautiful in their own ways Emile was kind grandma was compassionate and wise than her words sometimes suggest and David was I feel sorry for him I think David got the looks but Victor got the intelligence Victor despite his ugliness and relative youth seems to me to be the self accepting and fearless of the two He was pretty wretched most of the story but I suspect he had to be this way to survive David wouldn t survive in his brother s skin. Oren was born in Alexandria Egypt in 1941 and immigrated to Israel as a child A playwright and novelist Goren studied English and French literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University In 1982 he cofounded the Bimat Kedem Theater“Helps show why postwar Alexandria inspires nostalgia and avidity in seemingly veryone who knew it The result is what summer reading should be fast carefree visceral and incipiently lubricious” The New Yorker“Luminous One of the great triumphs.

I won this book as a Goodreads Giveaway In the English translation of Alexandrian Summer Goren is Unseen City enchanting and wistful a powerful combination 25 stars uick Review Glad to finally have an English translation available This novel provides a fascinating look at a summer season in 1951 Egypt the cosmopolitan atmosphere is fraught withthnic religious and class tensions on the Art eve of King Farouk s overthrow Treated with unsentimental language readers are presented with nostalgia and its unmitigated irony thus preventing a nosedive into clich stc Yet readers do come away with probing insights into the characters their psychological motivations and inner lives I am there among them growing into the woman I was meant to be free spirited worldly Every detail Yitzhak described in the story brings me back to the Alexandria I know from 2017 God Is in the Crowd even though the book was published in 1978 based in the 1950s Back then Alexandria was diversed with religions languages and race It gave me a context of the history of Alex It was vibrant with international citizens compared to the Alex I stayed for nearly a month in 2017 When I first visited Alexandria in 2017 I was amazed by the Mediterranean like city in an Arabian country definately not in my conceptions of Egypt would look like I was so amazed by the old European like buildings thatxists in such beautiful coast lines of Alex I fell in love with the people and the city right away It is my home faraway from home A city like Alex definately has its stories The writer did a fantastic job bringing the old city alive to its younger peak Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard era The story was told in a interesting manner I learnt a lot about the Alexandrians back then Some contexts also reminded me of the dear Alexandrians I know now It was a pleasure reading this book From the introduction The peaceful coxistence of so many creeds and nationalities may have been asking too much of mankind and in the The Matriarchs (The Family end was too good to be true It never lasts it never did This author deftly handlesxtremely serious social issues through this story primarily about horse racing and the jockeys involved There isn t a wasted word here in this very dense story and I loved the final sentence and I m not giving anything away by uoting it here Winter came to Alexandria Simple and with multiple meanings that s the way to nd a novel I used to be Robert too Twenty years ago I m coming from twenty years away I won t interrupt I just want to watch I won t interfere God forbid I just want to tell the Alexandrian Summer is the story of two Jewish families living their frenzied last days in the doomed cosmopolitan social whirl of Alexandria just before fleeing Egypt for Israel in 1951 The conventions of the Egyptian upper middle class are laid bare in this dazzling novel which xposes startling sexual hypocrisies and portrays a now vanished polyglot world of horse racing seaside promenades and legant night clubs Hamdi Ali senior is an old time patriarch with than a dash of strong Turkish blood His.

Tory of one summer a Mediterranean summer an Alexandrian summerSo Alexandrian Summer starts and finishes with the writer returning to see his own ten year old self Robby on the balcony of the old apartment taking down car licence numberplates And at the nd of the story rain begins to fall on Robby and he leaves his notebook discarded on the balconyThe summer was washed off the streets Winter came to AlexandriaIn between is a story as flexible as a silken rope moving with the slightly drugged hedonistic No Biggy! ease of summer days in cosmopolitan Alexandria at the height of the season But we re on the cusp of the Officer s Revolution thatnded the leisured settled life of the Jews of Alexandria Funny sophisticated and knowing as it is the book is full of the sad consciousness of a dying way of life and a future far from AlexandriaThe Hamdi Alis Joseph and Emilie and their two sons David and Victor come from Cairo to spend the summer in Alexandria with Robby his parents and his sister Anabella Robby is soon Crush It! enticed by Victor into sexual games while David pursues the unresponsive Anabella hardly able to comprehend that she isn t interested in such an Adonis as he knows himself to be In Anabella Goren beautifully captures thecstatic irresponsibility of being young and uncommitted But under its apparently meandering surface the story is building towards a confrontation it s the racing season and David a prize winning jockey is up against the local hero Al Tal ooni he David the Jew against the dark desert man Handsome and sought after as he is David already carries the seeds of failure within him it s no stretch of the imagination to imagine him in ten years or so the fair hair thinning the waist spreading the unrealistic dreams Attracting Birds to Your Backyard evaporated This is as good as it will get the heights of the summer season and the brief heroism of the racetrack And weighed against this insubstantial young man is the tragic figure of his father Joseph who gave up his Muslim faith and family for love of a Jewish woman and is now realising the price he paid For him the uestion of whether David will win or lose against Al Tal ooni becomes anxistential one that goes to his Deep Listening essence his fleshbeyond winning or losing a race at the Alexandria Sporting ClubMeanwhile the sheltered powerless women playndless card games gossiping and matchmaking in a lazy mix of French Ladino Arabic Turkish and English the Arab servants play a pragmatic game of give and take with their Jewish Bird-by-Bird Gardening employers and the Copts Jews Muslims Ca. Handsomelder son a promising horse jockey can't afford sexual frustration as it leads him to overeat and imperil his career but the woman he lusts after won't let him get beyond undoing a few buttons Victor the younger son takes his pleasure with other boys But the true heroine of the story richly voked in a pungent upstairsdownstairs mix is the raucous seductive city of Alexandria itself Published in Hebrew in 1978 Alexandrian Summer appears now in translation for the first timeYitzhak Gormezano

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