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The Arrogant Years: One Girl's Search for Her Lost Youth, from Cairo to Brooklynby Lucette Lagnado
Synopses & Reviews
The author of the award-winning The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit—hailed by the New York Times book review as a “crushing, brilliant book”—returns with this, the extraordinary follow-up memoir
In The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado offered a heartbreaking portrait of her father, Leon, a successful Cairo boulevardier who was forced to take flight with his family during the rise of the Nasser dictatorship, and of her familys struggle to rebuild a new life in a new land.
In this much-anticipated new memoir, Lagnado tells the story of her mother, Edith, coming of age in a magical old Cairo of dusty alleyways and grand villas inhabited by pashas and their wives. Then Lagnado revisits her own early years in America—first, as a schoolgirl in Brooklyns immigrant enclaves, where she dreams of becoming the fearless Mrs. Emma Peel of The Avengers, and later, as an “avenging” reporter for some of Americas most prestigious newspapers. A stranger growing up in a strange land, when she turns sixteen Lagnados adolescence is further complicated by cancer. Its devastating consequences would rob her of her “arrogant years”—the years defined by an overwhelming sense of possibility, invincibility, and confidence. Lagnado looks to the women sequestered behind the wooden screen at her childhood synagogue, to the young coeds at Vassar and Columbia in the 1970s, to her own mother and the women of their past in Cairo, and reflects on their stories as she struggles to make sense of her own choices.
“[Lagnado writes] in crystalline yet melodious prose.”
—New York Times
Lucette Lagnados 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 familys 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 womans determination to push past the boundaries of her life and make her way in the wider world.
In this much-anticipated new memoir, Lucette Lagnado revisits her first years in America, first in Brooklyn, then at Vassar and Columbia, revealing a coming-of-age interrupted by a bout with cancer at age 16. Its devastating consequences would rob her of her ability to have children and of her arrogant years--the years defined by their overwhelming sense of possibility, invincibility, and confidence--leaving her with the lonely echo of her own fears and judgment: I am not woman enough. Lagnado looks to the women sequestered behind the wooden screen at her childhood synagogue, to the young co-eds at Vassar in the 1970s, to her own mother and the women of their past in Cairo, and reflects on their stories as she struggles to heal, to make the leap from girl to woman without the grace and strength of her arrogant years.
About the Author
Lucette Lagnado is the coauthor of Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz. She is a senior special writer and investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She resides with her husband, Douglas Feiden, in Sag Harbor and New York City.
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