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Money Must Stay in the Family, Alain Elkann

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Author : Alain Elkann

Title : Money Must Stay in the Family

Translator : Alastair McEwen

Year : 2018

Series : The Arts

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Description

The plot of Money Must Stay in the Family, unfolds around the family matriarch’s last will and traces the story of an upper class Jewish family from Turin, the fictional Ottolenghis. The multigenerational saga begins with the flight from Mussolini’s Racial Laws of 1938 and continues with the arrival in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the dispersion from New York to Rome, Paris, Tuscany, South America, and Jerusalem.

Unlike the numerous studies of German and Austrian Jews who came to the US fleeing Nazism, until recently relatively little has been written on the much smaller groups of Jews arriving from Italy and France. Centro Primo Levi’s publishing and research project Americordo, of which this book is part, has begun to offer sources to reconstruct this story.

Alain Elkann has found the perfect pitch to describe from the inside this small and singular minority of Italian and French Jewish exiles: wealthy and for the most part oblivious to politics, they escaped the brunt of the persecution and loss, and have thus far remained largely unexamined.

Avoiding stereotyping and sociological categories, in a delicate balance between fiction and memoir, Elkann focuses on individual destinies and quests. Through a multitude of characters from two interconnected families, he presents forms of attachment, estrangement, belonging, rejecting, escaping and returning to Judaism, in a post-Shoah world.

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