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The Arrogant Years

The Arrogant Years [Kindle Edition]

Lucette Lagnado
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"This moving follow-up [to The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit] revolves around Lagnado and her mother, both of them battling their fates and coming of age in times of social change." --New York Times Book Review, Paperback Row

Product Description

“[Lagnado writes] in crystalline yet melodious prose.”
New York Times

Lucette Lagnado’s acclaimed, award-winning The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit (“[a] crushing, brilliant book” —New York Times Book Review) told the powerfully moving story of her Jewish family’s exile from Egypt. In her extraordinary follow-up memoir, The Arrogant Years, Lagnado revisits her first years in America, and describes a difficult coming-of-age tragically interrupted by a bout with cancer at age 16. At once a poignant mother and daughter story and a magnificent snapshot of the turbulent ’60s and ’70s, The Arrogant Years is a stunning work of memory and resilience that ranges from Cairo to Brooklyn and beyond—the unforgettable true story of a remarkable young woman’s determination to push past the boundaries of her life and make her way in the wider world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1282 KB
  • Print Length: 421 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061803677
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (6 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004PYDNH4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #363,595 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucette Lagnado 2 books review 10 Mar 2012
The 2 books "Man in white shark skin......" & "Arrogant yrs"
are certainely very well written and are real page turners for those of you who are interested in what happened to Middle Eastern (specially egyptian) Jews after 1948.

Great books
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Arrogant Years: Don't miss it! 13 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just like the Man in a Sharkskin Suit, this is a beautifully written poignant memoir of times past, exploring exile, women's lib and growing up as an immigrant in Brooklyn. Really recommended for a great read. Her writing is breathtaking. Waiting for the next one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hope to love it 30 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Haven't read it yet. Fact that you HAVE to write a prescribed number if words f comment is truly irritating
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book 12 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book. I absolutely loved it. Lucette is such a great writer that she keeps you enthralled. This book is a great follow on to The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. I felt the book ended too soon at the end. I would have liked her to give us more information about how the rest of her siblings and their families fared. I could easily read more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scintillating memoir 7 Sep 2011
By Peter Bloch - Published on
Lagnado's "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit" was her first memoir and focused on her father and her family's exile from Egypt, where she was born. This new book is about her mother, a brilliant gentle soul whose love of French literature and civilization could not withstand life in 1970s New York City. As in her first book, Lagnado's shimmering prose magically brings the past alive, but her mother's story is even more heartbreaking than her father's, especially in the last years when her fading mother falls into the clutches of uncaring doctors and nursing homes. Lagnado's heroic efforts to preserve her mom's dignity and personal freedom is compelling--and this beautiful memoir should be read alongside Jane Gross's "A Bittersweet Season" to get a full and depressing idea of what the future holds for all of us.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical & Mesmerizing, Haunting & Heartbreaking 19 Sep 2011
By Douglas Feiden - Published on
Almost inconceivable that Lagnado could surpass "Man in the White Sharkskin Suit," but she does exactly that in this haunting and heartbreaking companion memoir. Every single chapter -- no, make that every single page -- seems to grab the reader by the throat, or at least by the lapels, and cast its spell with some of the language's most magical and mesmerizing prose. You don't have to be Sephardic, you don't have to be Jewish, you don't even have to be a fan of "The Avengers" and Emma Peel in her black leather jumpsuit (although it helps) to love this captivating and hypnotic saga of a family that once upon a time in Egypt dined with Kings, created libraries for Pashas -- and then became pariahs and outcasts and wounded birds and broken refugees washed up on the shores of the New World. And yes, I'm a biased critic -- I'm the husband of the author, a (fairly minor) character in her new book, and one who had the supreme pleasure of hearing every single chapter of "The Arrogant Years" read aloud during its creation in Manhattan, Montreal, Sag Harbor, Cairo, Jerusalem, Paris, London, Geneva and Milan. -- Douglas Feiden, New York City
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Where was my sense of purpose?" 13 Sep 2011
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Lucette Lagnado's "The Arrogant Years" is an elegant and elegiac memoir about her family's life in Cairo and their resettlement in America. Lagnado, an award-winning investigative reporter, invests her writing with so much warmth, humor, and evocative detail that we find ourselves strolling with her down the streets of Cairo; dropping in on her family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; sitting with her in the woman's section of her synagogue, the Shield of Young David; and accompanying her on her odyssey from a sheltered young woman to an independent and, at times, conflicted adult.

The author's candor, appreciation of her multicultural heritage (Jewish, as well as Arabic and French), and understanding of how the past and the present are intertwined, all breathe life into this account of a youngster who is bright, curious, and always a bit dissatisfied. She alludes to the once Golden Age in Cairo, where Jews held prominent positions and lived with Muslims and Christians in harmony. In fact, Madame Alice Cattaui Pasha, a beautiful and compassionate woman, was one of the wealthiest, grandest, and most influential people in Cairo. The elegant Madame Cattaui, who was Jewish, was the king's confidante. She socialized with eminent men and women, hosted magnificent gatherings, and took time from her busy schedule to lend assistance to impoverished students.

Everything changed in 1956, when many Egyptian Jews started to flee the country to such far-flung locations as Australia and Brazil. In 1963, Lagnado's family traveled briefly to France and then took up residence in Brooklyn. Although they were members of a close-knit community, they were no longer prosperous. Edith, Lucette's mother, was a beautiful, sensitive, and highly intelligent woman who suffered a loss of self-esteem after giving up her adored teaching job in Egypt. Suddenly, she was trapped in an unsatisfactory marriage to a domineering older man, and she sorely missed the intellectual stimulation that she once enjoyed.

This story has a universal quality that expresses the yearning of many immigrants to feel safe and cared for. Lagnado beautifully articulates her strong desire to fit in with her peers, wear the right clothes, feel less lonely, and fulfill herself as an independent woman. Should she shed the trappings of Orthodox Judaism as she goes out into the world? How will she cope with her increasingly distant and ailing father, her melancholy mother, and an illness that hit her like a thunderbolt when she was still in her teens? This is a lyrical, honest, and moving memoir (with wonderful black and white photographs) that sheds light not only on Lucette's life, but also on the challenges that Jews have faced since time immemorial. Lagnado generously opens up her heart and shares her innermost thoughts, dreams, and heartaches with her readers. We are the richer for it.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Touching, and Brave 13 Sep 2011
By Eileen Pollock - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lucette Lagnado first wrote memorably about her father in The Man in the Sharkskin Suit. This sequel is built around her mother Edith, a literary talent whose career in Egypt as teacher and librarian to the pasha's wife was cut short by an early marriage and children. The story also concentrates on the author's childhood and youth in Egypt then Brooklyn, her self absorption and arrogance, her determination to right wrongs and pursue justice. By the end of the book she has come full circle, to the realization that the women's section of the synagogue she was trying to break out of was the only place she had known warmth and security. The last chapters describe how her elderly mother was treated in a nursing home, a horror story that will chill the heart of anyone who possesses one. Lagnado's sensitivity is profound and her determination to illuminate truth can only be called courageous. Her book is filled with descriptions of clothes she hungered after as a child, but as she matures, she has researched the dispersal of the once thriving community of Jews of Egypt. Yet you do not have to be an Egyptian Jew to identify with her story. I was deeply moved, coming from a very enclosed religious community myself. I have often felt like a foreigner in America, although I was born here. Lucette Lagnado writes beautifully, simply, whole-heartedly. How I wish I knew someone like her in this strange country, New York.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy the book now, you won't be sorry 9 Oct 2011
By Miriam Kairey - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this novel slowly to savor it. I am a fan of Ms. Lagnado after reading her previous book, Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. Her prose style is elegant and fluid. Her description of her adolescent years eloquently portrays the angst of the teenage years.

As only an artist can do, Ms. Lagnado covers similar ground as her previous book, yet is a completely different story. Her mom, who faded into the background in the previous book, is brought to the forefront. Through successive generations of women in her family we see the changing roles of women bringing us forward to the modern day. Foreign cultures also come into play when the family relocates. It challenges the reader to think about family values, religion and parent child relationships.

In a break from her previous book, Ms Lagnado displays a more mature and less judgmental perspective. She takes a less black and white view of what she dislikes. For example, in her previous book she rails against the nursing home system that fails to provide loving care to her father. In this book she understands that love comes from the family and makes the commitment to care for her mother at home.

I encourage everyone to read the book and see for themselves how fabulous it is.
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Popular Highlights

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She had reached her arrogant years, that period in a young woman’s life when she feels—and is—on top of the world. &quote;
Highlighted by 16 Kindle users
The library had changed all of that—it had restored her sense of self, it had made her independent. Edith’s transformation from Levantine housewife into career woman extraordinaire was in keeping with the changes sweeping America, and at breakneck speed. The feminist movement had gone from an &quote;
Highlighted by 11 Kindle users
My mother had led a life of sacrifice. She had sacrificed herself for my father, had abandoned her dreams to marry him, had given up the key the pasha’s wife had handed her and all the doors it would have opened. She had gone on to devote herself to us, her children. But as far as she was concerned, my illness was enough of a sacrifice and she was telling me not to be like her, not to give up my hopes and ambitions. I had to become tough and even ruthless—I had to live and let die. &quote;
Highlighted by 9 Kindle users

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