For Andre Aciman, who left Egypt in 1967 and spent several years in Italy and France before settling in New York City, home is an elusive concept. All places turn into shadow cities: "you cannot leave, but you already long for the place from which you intend to leave."
An interview with the Alexandrian-born author in Nextbook (with thanks: Albert)
When André Aciman returned to Alexandria after 30 years in exile, he imagined what his life would have been like had he never left. He wandered around the city in a daze, halfheartedly taking in the landmarks of his youth, stumbling from bakery to cemetery, bewildered and overwhelmed. What gave him the most pleasure during this visit, as he recounts in his 1994 memoir, Out of Egypt, was musing on some future time when he might recall the sensation of being back in Egypt, pondering his inability to immediately appreciate the significance of this return trip. It is this longing to remember, this restlessness with experience, that characterizes Aciman's entire body of work: a memoir, a collection of essays, and now, a novel.
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