Lively's experience as an English child in Egypt (and briefly, Sudan, Palestine, and exotic en routes) is perceived and pursued through the stubborn opacity of adult memory, longing for ``the rainbow experience we all have lost but of which we occasionally retrieve a brilliant glimpse.'' It is novelist Lively's (Cleopatra's Sister, 1993, etc.) aim to discuss ``the nature of childhood perception and a view of Egypt in the 1930's and 1940's.'' She richly and elegantly succeeds.
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