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Like an Egyptian Movie

Ron Barkai
Joseph Alfandri, the hero-narrator, is a dark and fascinating character, and the story of his life, related in his own rich and highly-flavored language, colored by his singular view of reality, is not the conventional story of a Jewish immigrant from an Arab-speaking country and the absorption of such immigrants in Israeli society. Joseph Alfandri is unique: a stubborn, intolerant and misanthropic man who is nevertheless endowed with great personal charm and humor. He is born into a poor Jewish family in Cairo, and when he grows up he escapes from his father "The Turk" to Alexandria, where an Arab whore with a heart of gold takes him under her wing. Although his life is good, he decides to immigrate to Palestine, finds work in a bakery in Mandatory Jerusalem, marries, father two children and moves to a southern Tel Aviv neighborhood. There he "goes up in the world", becomes a clerk in the Employment Office and is active in party politics. Everything changes around him, but he remains the same: Alfandri is an addicted to poker, loves the music of Oum Caltoum and Laila Murad, hates communists and Arabs, despises his wife, and scorns his mother and his neighbors. He treats his two sons with cruelty, like his father before him, and tries forcibly to turn his talented and sensitive elder son into a tough he-man. He is not on speaking terms with his younger son, who is a gifted artist. Eventually, he suffers the consequences of his conduct. His wife and children leave home and he remains alone. Does he regret his behavior and his way of life? Unexpectedly, Alfandri clings to his individuality and refuses to toe the line even on his deathbed.

Partial English translation available (for publishers only)

Barkai Like an Egyptian Movie
Title Like an Egyptian Movie
Author’s Last Name Barkai
Author's First Name Ron
Language(s) Hebrew, French, Italian
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Xargol
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2001
No. Pages 222 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Kmo Seret Mitzri
Representation Represented by ITHL


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French: Paris, Fayard, 2006

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