[ilds] Man in White Sharkskin Suit

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 19 08:43:37 PDT 2010


Aciman's Out of Egypt is, as noted before, highly literary in a way that Lagnado's Sharkskin isn't.  Aciman is an American scholar of Proust, and his memoir shows that influence, subtly acknowledged in the text.  A very good book.


On Jun 18, 2010, at 1:25 PM, Marc Piel wrote:

> Bruce,
> You are welcome.
> I have ordered "Out of Egypt"
> B.R.
> Marc
> Le 18/06/10 17:00, Bruce Redwine a écrit :
>> Thanks for the correction, Marc.  I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.
>> Bruce
>> On Jun 18, 2010, at 7:33 AM, Marc Piel wrote:
>>> Quote from Bruce  " I would not be too surprised
>>> were she to say she hadn't read the Quartet."
>>> Here is what Lucette Lugnado sais about the Quartet:
>>> "No one has been able to capture soulful, sensuous
>>> Egypt like Durrell. In many ways, I thought that
>>> my father was like Durrell's female
>>> heroine--restless, tormented, both faithless and
>>> faithful, and a creature of the night. Each of the
>>> novels is an extraordinary work."
>>> I am enjoying it very much.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Marc
>>> Le 06/06/10 23:01, Bruce Redwine a écrit :
>>>> James,
>>>> Lawrence Durrell put modern Alexandria on the map. I'm not discounting
>>>> or belittling the work of Cavafy and Forster, but their very great
>>>> contributions were simply not that well known prior to Durrell's /magnum
>>>> opus./ In a sense, Durrell made his predecessors, whom he fully
>>>> acknowledges, famous with respect to "The City." Look at the publishing
>>>> history of Cavafy in English translation and Forster's two books on
>>>> Alexandria — the flood of Cavafy translations, new editions of Forster,
>>>> and critical studies of the three, all those all start pouring out after
>>>> the appearance of the /Quartet./ Give credit where credit is due, and
>>>> that rightfully belongs to Lawrence Durrell.
>>>> Now, in /Out of Egypt /(1994), Aciman has written a splendid memoir of
>>>> his Sephardic roots in Alexandria (a memoir, by the way, which is
>>>> slightly dishonest, for readers are led to believe it is factual but
>>>> others claim is partly fictional, much in the way that Durrell invented
>>>> people in his travel books). As you would expect from a specialist in
>>>> French literature, Aciman is literary, and his book reads with the grace
>>>> of fiction, but how he can clearly allude to Proust's /Temps Perdu/ and
>>>> not at least drop a hint of indebtedness to L. G. Durrell is beyond me.
>>>> As I argue in my /Arion/ article on Haag's work, Aciman wants to
>>>> disassociate himself from the Alexandria of Cavafy, Forster, and
>>>> Durrell. That's his choice, however. If he wants to be excluded from
>>>> that great tradition, then so be it, although I believe in at least
>>>> acknowledging those predecessors, whom he most certainly is aware of.
>>>> Lucette Lugnado's book is about Cairo and her family. Although well
>>>> written, I would not call it literary, certainly not in the way that
>>>> Aciman's is. I would not be too surprised were she to say she hadn't
>>>> read the /Quartet./ After all, she was born when /Justine/ was being
>>>> written. But you're right, Durrell is the "elephant in the room," and
>>>> she may have felt intimidated by his omnipresence. Hence, no direct
>>>> allusions. The influence, if such, is in the sense of Cairo as a "place"
>>>> of special memories and experiences long gone. Her use of the balcony of
>>>> her family home on Malaka Nazli reminds me of similar tropes in Cavafy
>>>> and Haag. She mentions that balcony during the video of her reading in
>>>> Cairo.
>>>> Read her book. It's a moving experience.
>>>> Bruce
>>>> On Jun 6, 2010, at 12:17 PM, James Gifford wrote:
>>>>> Very few critical works have mentioned Durrell and Aciman together as
>>>>> well:
>>>>> Porter, Roger J. "Autobiography, Exile, Home: The Egyptian Memoirs of
>>>>> Gini Alhadeff, André Aciman, and Edward Said." /Biography/ 24.1 (2001):
>>>>> 302-313. (Mentions the Durrell conference, On Miracle Ground XI, in
>>>>> Corfu, numerous times.)
>>>>> Giovannucci, Perri. The Modernizing Mission: Literature and Development
>>>>> in North Africa. Diss. University of Miami, 2005.
>>>>> I suspect that the same way Durrell's Eliotic influences are displaced
>>>>> by the "Old Poet of the city," Aciman and Lagnado may be avoiding the
>>>>> elephant in the room... I've not read the book, but are there
>>>>> Durrellian allusions or influences, Bruce?
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> James
>>>>> On 06/06/10 11:40 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>>>>> Thanks, Charles. I hadn't seen Ms. Lagnado speak before. She's
>>>>>> charming, no? She and Andre Aciman (Out of Egypt) are primarily
>>>>>> writing about nostalgia within an Egyptian context. I wonder why
>>>>>> neither mention or allude to Durrell. Aciman's omission in this
>>>>>> regard seems to me particularly grevious.
>>>>>> Bruce
>>>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>>>> On Jun 6, 2010, at 10:15 AM, Charles Sligh<Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
>>>>>> <mailto:Charles-Sligh at utc.edu>>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>>>>>>> Marc,
>>>>>>>> True, Lucette Lagnado ("Loulou") was born in 1956, but her memoir is
>>>>>>>> mainly about her father, Leon Lagnado, who married her mother Edith
>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>> 1943.
>>>>>>> ***
>>>>>>> Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, talks
>>>>>>> about her book in Cairo Egypt
>>>>>>> http://vimeo.com/10151234
>>>>>>> ***
>>>>>>> Lucette Lagnado
>>>>>>> http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/29557/Lucette_Lagnado/index.aspx
>>>>>>> http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Man-White-Sharkskin-Suit-Lucette-Lagnado/?isbn=9780060822187?AA=index_authorIntro_29557
>>>>>>> ***
>>>>>>> Out of Egypt
>>>>>>> Published: August 12, 2007
>>>>>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/books/review/Newhouse-t.html?ex=1344571200&en=15f09d3482a0665f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
>>>>>>> <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/books/review/Newhouse-t.html?ex=1344571200&en=15f09d3482a0665f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss>
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