Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
On native ground
on June 10, 2008
I was surprised in a number of ways by this novel. First of all, by how good it is. It is a real page- turner in a good sense, has a story which holds the reader's interest from beginning to end. Secondly, I was surprised by the main character. Emuna Elon is the wife of Benny Elon a major Israeli politiician whose struggle is to bring the whole of the land of Israel within the boundaries of the sovereign Jewish state. Elon who has had a daily column for the major Israeli daily 'Yediot Achronot' so far as I know shares her husband's political position.
But in the novel the main character, and the one whose narrative voice directs the action ,Shlomtzion Dror belongs to the opposite political camp. Her personal story of rejection in love by her childhood sweetheart removes her from the national- religious world, and makes her a strong supporter of the secular Left, the same Left that argues passionately that the land of Israel should be divided, that the historical homeland of Judea and Samaria ( The West Bank) should be for the sake of Peace part of a Palestinian Arab state. So what we have throughout the work is quite a bit of seeing the community which Elon ostensibly belongs to , the 'settler' community through the negative eyes of the narrator. But the third surprise is that the political issue and drama is background and secondary to the heart of the novel. The heart of the novel is the love - story of Shlomtzion and Ariel , his rejection of her when his Rabbis fail to give a blessing to their message. The story tells what happens to her afterwards, how she makes a new life. And it too tells of a dramatic meeting which takes place when the daughter of Shulamit becomes engaged to the son of Ariel, and his wife, Leah.
I live in Israel and had special enjoyment from reading credible descriptions of its various 'scenes' and 'situations' various worlds of nature and social reality. Elon knows the country and society well, and her story gives a strong loving sense of it. While one might feel the major complication, the marriage of her daughter and his son, as somewhat contrived this does not really diminish from the drama and enjoyment of this wonderfully rich and skillfully written novel.
I would add that the feeling of love for Israel, its people and land that pervades the Novel makes it for me especially enjoyable and inspiring.