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Isra-Isle: A Novel Paperback – November 1, 2016
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names Isra Isle to its top 10 list of recommended books
Semel’s novel explores an intriguing what-if scenario based on historical fact. In 1825, Jewish-American Mordecai Manuel Noah purchased Grand Island, near Niagara Falls, from Native Americans, planning to create a place of refuge for Jews. Semel’s novel asks the question, What if this plan had worked?....In this changed world, Israel never existed, Native American and Jewish customs have been merged, and the American Jewish state affects many issues in the world. Each of the main characters struggles with issues of religion, spirituality, and identity in streaming thoughts and discussions. Through those voices, Semel explores issues of global importancesuch as terrorism, prejudice, and politicsin this singular, thought-provoking novel.” Publishers Weekly
In a daring and brilliant book, Nava Semel turns the Zionist narrative upside-down and contemplates whether it would have been possible to change the history of the Jewish people. She creates a world in which a prosperous Jewish state under American patronage arises at Grand Island, near the Niagara Falls, in the wake of the vision of Mordecai Manuel Noah. This is a fascinating book...asks the question, What would have happened if . . . ?”
Abraham B. Yehoshua, author of Mr. Mani, Five Seasons, The Liberated Bride, and A Woman in Jerusalem, and recipient of the Bialik Prize, the Israel Prize for Literature, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Jewish Book Award.
"Equal parts detective novel, historical fantasia, and alternate history, Isra Isle offers a compelling exploration of modern Jewish identity for a postmodern world. With swift pacing and a sly wit Semel tackles serious topics: Zionism, multicultural politics, the attacks of 9/11, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American Judaism. This what-if novel is Semel’s Israeli-feminist Yiddish Policemen’s Uniona real triumph of the imagination.”Adam Rovner, author of In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel, University of Denver
About the Author
Jessica Cohen, translator, has worked with some of Israel’s finest writers, including David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Assaf Gavron, Rutu Modan, Amir Gutfreund, Yael Hedaya, Ronit Matalon, and Tom Segev, as well as such prominent screenwriters as Ari Folman and Ron Leshem. She has served as a board member of the American Literary Translators Association, and is also a member of the American Translators Association, the Israel Translators Association, the Colorado Translators Association, and PEN American Center.