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Gabriel Josipovici

This is an excerpt from Gabriel Josipovici's life of his mother, Rabinovitch, who died in 1996 at the age of eighty-five. Sacha and her elder sister Vera, known as Chickie, were born in Helwan, near Cairo, in 1910 and 1909 respectively. Their father, a Jewish doctor from Odessa, died when the children were five and six, their mother was carried away by the epidemic which swept Egypt when they were ten and eleven. The greatest influence on the two little girls was their English nanny, who died the following year. After a brief period with their Syrian stepfather, Max Debbane, they went to live with their maternal grandparents, and it is here that the extract starts.

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Brothers

A Short Story

Gabriel Josipovici

He climbs the stairs. I know him by his tread. My brother! The door creaks a little as he pushes it. Now he steps inside and says hello. He stands by the door and looks round. What a funny place to be, he says. Not the house, he adds. The house is very nice. Very nice indeed, as far as I can judge. But why do you sit here in the dusk like that? I knew it was you, I tell him. He comes forward into the room. There is nowhere for him to sit.

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Gabriel Josipovici

It takes time to look at an image. He spreads the paper flat on his desk and leans over it to try and get a better view of the small black and white photograph in the top right hand corner which has caught his attention.