• The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

  • My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World
  • By: Lucette Lagnado
  • Narrated by: Joyce Bean
  • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit  By  cover art

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

By: Lucette Lagnado
Narrated by: Joyce Bean
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Publisher's Summary

“Poignant...deeply personal...an indelible history of the largely forgotten Jews of Egypt....” (Miami Herald

In vivid and graceful prose, Lucette Lagnado recreates the majesty and cosmopolitan glamour of Cairo in the years before Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rise to power. With Nasser’s nationalization of Egyptian industry, her father, Leon, a boulevardier who conducted business in his white sharkskin suit, loses everything and departs with the family for any land that will take them. The poverty and hardships they encounter in their flight from Cairo to Paris to New York are strikingly juxtaposed against the beauty and comforts of the lives they left behind. 

An inversion of the American dream set against the stunning portraits of three world cities, Lucette Lagnado’s memoir offers a grand and sweeping story of faith, tradition, tragedy, and triumph. 

©2007 Lucette Lagnado (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Touching Memoir of a Jewish Family in Egypt

I have always been a fan of Lucette Lagnado from the time I first read her pieces in the Wall Street Journal reflecting on her childhood and family in Egypt… and how it devolved from dining with Kings to Nasser's anti-Semitism.

The story, well read by the narrator, is emotional without being sentimental and touching without being melodramatic. The author has an amazing ability to allow a personally exhilarating or sad event to speak for itself. Somehow, her love for family and respect for tradition overcome what could otherwise have been a depressing book. Instead, it is simply a lovely story about good times and bad times, but, most of all, memorable times.

At first, I thought it would be a wonderful Netflix movie, but I soon realized that the author painted such a clear picture of her life in - and after - Egypt that a movie would be superfluous. Ms. Lagnado had an amazing story to tell; and it could not have been told better.

If you have any interest at all about the life of Jews in the Levant before they were forced to flee – or what life is presumably like for Christians in the Mideast today, this will be an excellent listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Must have

This story touched my heart more than I thought a story could possibly do. A part of history of the Jewish people who lived in the Arab counties such as Egypt, a history never taught in schools, sadly. My dad told me similar stories about the Jewish in my country Iraq and how they forced to leave. I loved how she included a lot of culture in this book, LOVE it!

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Painful pronunciation of French words

I really like the reader but,(and this is huge), someone should have told her how to pronounce the French words!!! There is quite a bit of French in this story and she has had no experience on how to pronounce any of the words! It took me out of the story in a jarring manner. It would have been an easy fix and I'm surprised that whoever proof-listens to the book, didn't notice this?
Story is great but the reading was a real problem for me.

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The narrator outdid herself!

Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the beautiful story. The narrator impressed me tremendously switching from one language to another with ease and grace. Beautifully done !

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Wonderful and engrossing writing.

I read this novel several years ago from Kindle. It had stayed in my mind and when I found out it was available on Audible, I wanted to repeat it. So much more touching and emotional this time. I shall hold on to it, and listen again sometime. I am 89.

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Touching

When I started listening to the book I didn’t like that much. The author was fascinated by her father to a legendary level. And perhaps being prejudice I thought the novel will continue on the same line. The novel quickly changes into a more human experience of a normal man and family and their ordeal and how they dealt with it.
The end is very touching and shows how when humans know each other they can overcome even the most difficult differences.

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  • Raf
  • 02-09-23

Amazing trip through memories

Incredibily powerful, brought back to life my family's memories. It is in many senses the story of many Jews who had to leave Egypt. Moving, clever, superbly told.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-17-22

More than a personal memoir

This wonderful. personal memoir resonates across countries, cultures, faiths and through the decades. Beautiful! An insight into Egypt past and present.

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  • Rosemarie Risgalla
  • 02-02-22

Childhood memories

I enjoyed the book as it reminded me also of my childhood in Egypt and our exodus in 1965 for Australia.

What I did not enjoy is that the reader had a very poor command of both French and Arabic which was grating to listen to at times.

A person with an ear for languages and the words they were repeating would have improved enjoyment of the book.