"Helps show why postwar Alexandria inspires nostalgia and avidity in seemingly everyone who knew it ... The result is what summer reading should be: fast, carefree, visceral, and incipiently lubricious."-- The New Yorker
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 exposes startling sexual hypocrisies and portrays a now vanished polyglot world of horse-racing, seaside promenades, and elegant night clubs. Hamdi-Ali senior is an old-time patriarch with more than a dash of strong Turkish blood. His handsome elder 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 evoked in a pungent upstairs/downstairs mix--is the raucous, seductive city of Alexandria itself. Published in Hebrew in 1978, Alexandrian Summer appears now in translation for the first time.
Yitzhak Gormezano Goren 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.
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
-- The New Yorker "Engaging and varied ... a refreshing and nuanced portrayal of the Jewish diaspora in Egypt."--The Times Literary Supplement "Luminous ... One of the great triumphs of Alexandrian Summer is the richness of the evocation of this city and the multiple cultures pressed within it ... A sultry eroticism pervades."
-- The Forward "Alexandria, a lush paradise by the sea, comes to antic, full-bodied life ... Gormezano Goren's characters are vividly depicted as they grow up or grow older in a city of conflicting loyalties, riven by resentment, ready to revolt. Readers will be transported."--Publishers Weekly "This novel recalls one gloriously golden summer in a cosmopolitan city on the verge of upheaval ... Fluidly written and soberly enticing."--Library Journal "Densely layered ... a love letter to the lush paradise of Alexandria."--Moment Magazine "A gifted writer ... Gormezano Goren defines the city and its ambiance in lush, sensuous terms ... He also describes so well the Diaspora Jew's knack for downplaying the danger of gathering storms of hatred, a tendency not limited to Alexandria or to any particular era of exile."--The Jerusalem Post "A powerful novel of tensions-sexual, familial, religious, and political-and an affecting but unsparing portrait of the petit bourgeois world of Egyptian Jews standing obliviously on the edge of a precipice. Alexandria--sensual and enchanting--shimmers in these pages." --Dalia Sofer, author of The Septembers of Shiraz "A fine work of art ... riveting from the first page to the last."
--Zo Haderekh "A reason to rejoice ... A mature, well-defined, engrossing first novel. An author with superb power of expression ... You can't help but keep on smiling with great pleasure."
--Maariv "The sensual and multi-colored texture, the uniqueness of a place and time is the best thing about this singular novel, conjuring up an exceptional and remote world ... daring and ... at the same time refined and cultivated."
-- Haaretz " A profound literary experience."