"That was little Liova Nussimbaum," Sara said. Her sister nodded and smiled, remembering. "He was a Jewish boy about two years our junior." Really? I asked, remembering the name on the jacket of Blood and Oil. Are you sure the name was Liovathe Russian diminutive for Lev Nussimbaum? Exactly that name?
"Yes, Liova, Liova, little Liova Nussimbaum. He was the smartest of all the children, a very smart little Jewish boy whose father was a rich businessman in town. He never had a mother, and the family tried to compensate for this. He was a very nice and a very well-mannered boy, and since his earliest childhood, he was fluent in German. His governess was a German lady, I believe."
"Probably a Baltic German," Fuad put in. "It was very common to have a Baltic German governess here thenalso French." I noticed a pair of stout fräuleins flanking the children, slightly rough-looking women incongruously dressed in sequined evening gowns for the occasion.
"He left Baku," said the ancient lady, "and we heard he later died in Italy."
Excerpted from The Orientalist by Tom Reiss Copyright © 2005 by Tom Reiss. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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