Very reminescent of Forster and Durrell. Another scorned lover of Alexandria. Another one of her lovers who did not really get to know her. A moving story of a family that escaped war or persecution or misfortune to the city. The city embraced them with open arms, like thousands of others;Greek, Armenian, Jewish, Albanian, French, Italians and even British. Unlike the other thousands or millions who came before them, and who became part of Alexandria, They wanted to love her like one may want to love a prostitute. They did not want to be seen with her. They avoided learning her language. They looked at her people as an inferior race. Only worthy of serving them. They mistook kindness for inferiority. They set themselves apart. And when it was over, they just left. Without lifting a finger to claim that they belonged. They claimed many nationalities, but never wanted to be Egyptians. For them it was not "comme il faut". After all are we or aren't we Alexandrians.
This memoir gathers momentum page by page, and by mid-book I realized that this was no ordinary book, and that as a memoir or even a novel, as sheer literature, it stands well above the crowd. Recommended for those who love the great literature of the past, especially Proust or Joyce. This is a modern book, of course, and yet it has more in common with those early 20th Century writers than with, say, Hemmingway or any of the other sparse writers of the latter part of the century.