The sun at midday: tales of a Mediterranean family
For Gini Alhadeff, there was rarely a difference between feeling at home and feeling foreign. Born to an Italian family in Alexandria, Egypt, she lived in places as far-flung as Cairo, Khartoum, Florence, and Tokyo; raised Catholic, she did not learn of her Sephardic Jewish roots until she was living in New York in her twenties. In The Sun at Midday, Alhadeff traces her unusual ancestral history, seeking the source of her chameleon-like skills of adaptation. Through the reminiscences of family members--among them cousin Pierre, a worldly priest and celebrity confessor who recalls the sumptuous lives of Alexandrian ex-pats, and her uncle Nissim, now a gynecologist in Queens, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust--she unearths a wealth of rich and strange stories. Woven together with exhilarating prose, they form an uncommonly affecting memoir of a family whose past defies summation, and of Alhadeff's own life both in it and apart from it.
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Aldo Alexandria Alhadeff Arabic arrived asked Auschwitz Azzate became Beppe block blue bread brother Buchenwald Buguggiate Cairo called Catholic Chianti cotton cremation oven dachshund died dinner doctor dogs door dress Egypt Egyptian Egyptian pounds eyes face father feet felt French garden Gargnano German Giampi Gianchi glass grandfather grandfather's grandmother Greek Haco hair hands head Italian Italy Izmir Jewish Jews Khartoum King Farouk knew later leave legs lived Livorno looked Madame Cristina marriage married midday Milan morning mother Nelly never night Nissim once parents Piero Pierre Piha Pinto priest prisoners Rebecca Rhodes Sarah scaloppine Sephardic Sephardic Jews shoes side stay talk thing thought Tilche tion told took Turkish Varese Vittorio waited walked wearing wife woman women wore Yves Montand