Essays on exile, dislocation, and nostalgia by a noted traveler and memoirist. Aciman (Out of Egypt, 1994) was born into a family of Jewish, Italian, and Turkish origins in Alexandria, Egypt. The memory of that "part-Victorian, half-decayed" outpost of the British Empire, from which most of the European Jewish population fled following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Nasserite nationalism, haunts these meditations on rootlessness. Aciman's prose is often characterized by exquisitely rendered pangs of homesickness, and it wanders along that edge between anger and nostalgia that is the exile's true domain. "No Mediterranean," he writes, "can stand looking at the tiny lights speckling the New Jersey cliffs at night and not remember a galaxy of little fishing boats that go out to sea at night, dotting the water with their tiny lights till dawn." But many of his essays are also celebratory; they praise the cities of exileRome, Paris, and especially New Yorkas places of possibility where Aciman could find "a marchand de tabacs who would sell me cigarettes without asking questions" or a sunny park bench on which to pass the time of day without being bothered for an identity card or an explanation. Although Aciman occasionally drifts into journalistic travelogue, more often he offers thoughtful, highly original aperçus through which run several themes: the meaning of the Passover seder and its remembrance of flight, the pleasures of city life and of discovering a city's forgotten past, and the difficulty of maintaining connections and memories across time and oceans. Aciman's elegant pieces recall the leisurely, reflective essays of Walter BenjaminandMichel Butor, like them evoking a world that has disappeared.