One day when I went into the library, there was an elderly lady returning a book, which she described as “a most beautiful story” and that she “couldn’t put it down”. She was (rather sweetly) hoping for the librarians to advertise the book in some way, because she thought it was a book worth sharing. Now, their plan was to just put it on the side and reshelve it later, so I swooped in and scooped it. Having now read it, I can confirm that it is indeed a most beautiful story that is impossible to put down and I hope to repay the favour that lady did for me by passing it onto you lovely people.
Technically speaking, the Man in the White Sharkskin Suit is a non-fiction story, but when you actually get into it, you’ll find, as I did, that it is so much more than that. Detailing the memoirs of her family, Lagnado shares a forgotten history and delves into the modern Jewish exodus from Egypt. With historical accounts, remembered anecdotes and the loveliest old photographs, the author brings this narrative to life in a way that makes it feel closer to home.
From the beautiful opening, where Lagnado describes her desire to rebuild the hearth, the table is set and my interest was alight. Soon, it became apparent that the author has an exquisite way with language. She captures the faintly magical atmosphere with all the skill of a true storyteller. She fills her pages with a touch of the regal, yet never strays far from the darker truths and presents its cast as they were, warts and all.
It did not take long for me to be swept up by this story. The journey I was taken on was heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. I laughed and cried along with the narrative. And yes, I struggled to put it down (a real feat for non-fic!)
Above all, what stood out to me was how the author’s love for her father shines through her words. Written in her father’s memory, it honoured him in every way and it was an honour to read. This is by far one of the best biographies I have ever read.
Rating: 5/5 bananas
So have you read this? Do you plan to now? Let me know in the comments!