Emily Rubin, author of STALINA, said of the book, "Jean Naggar's memoir SIPPING FROM THE NILE brings the world of Egypt's privileged class to us like a DOWNTON ABBEY set in Cairo. This is history told with the fluidity of poetry, the sensuality of life, and with empathy that resonates from an extended family determined to survive upheaval."
Meanwhile, The US Review of Books praised the memoir with the following review: "Glamorous, exciting, filled with the sophisticated life of a Jewish family living in Europe and the Middle East, Naggar documents times of elegant lifestyles, to the tumultuous struggles of war...And like every family, there is passionate love and loss, but always there is the undercurrent of delight and an indomitable will to do more than just survive."
SIPPING FROM THE NILE is a coming-of-age narrative that also chronicles the Egyptian nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956 and the resultant diaspora of Jean's family. The book holds a fitting connection to today's Egypt and the Arab Spring, as Jean writes in a recent blog post:
My personal story now seems like a tiny grain of sand trapped in an undertow of post-colonial national fervor. In 1956, religious freedom and the fertile brew of diversity encouraged by the Ottoman occupation of Egypt imploded and disappeared in one fell swoop. Immediate expulsion of civic-minded, financially astute, cultured British, French, and Jewish communities following Suez threatened the socioeconomic infrastructure of the country and planted seeds for escalating economic woes, foreshadowing a new revolution decades later, fueling the energy and anger that filled Tahrir Square in 2011.
You can read the rest of the blog post at this link.
And for further discussion about SIPPING FROM THE NILE, view the reading group guide available at this link.
Amazon Encore, February 2012