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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
In The Afternoon Sun: My Alexandria by Julie Hill is a memoir that captures the pulse and soul of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, a story that transports readers to a metropolis that was once a melting pot of cultures and civilizations. Her parents had come to Alexandria as refugees from the Ottoman Empire, and it is in this beautiful city, where tolerance and cultural diversity are characteristic traits, that she would grow up, explore its beautiful alleys and structures, and get her early education. Julie Hill takes the reader through wonderful moments, capturing the atmosphere during WWII, and feeding their minds with exotic images from this beloved city.
The reader follows her up to the challenging moment when she attends an Egyptian university, an uncommon thing for a foreigner. But everything changes with the 1952 Revolution — foreigners are banished, private estates nationalized, and property taxes revised. It is a moment of change, and it isn’t the change that people wanted, and this change affects everything in Alexandria. Ms. Hill moves away to study in America. Will Alexandria hold the same fond memories when she returns a few years later?
Julie Hill’s memoir isn’t just a story of her life and her memories; it is a cultural and political document, a book that looks at the life of the city of Alexandria and what it meant, not only to the protagonist, but to everyone who was drawn into its orbit. The author makes readers fall in love with the Alexandria of her childhood, unveils the hidden beauty of this ancient city, and makes them want to visit Egypt. The book is written in a compelling style, with vivid descriptions of locales and scenes. In The Afternoon Sun: My Alexandria is a historic journey to Alexandria at the peak of its beauty. Deft, balanced, and masterly!