Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

Title:Daughters of Iraq
Author:Revital Shiri-Horowitz
Publisher:Horowitz Publishing
Pub. Date:04/01/2011
ISBN:0615460798 (ISBN13: 9780615460796)

“Daughters of Iraq” is the compelling story of three women from the same family. It is the story of emigration from Iraq to Israel as experienced by two sisters: Violet, whom we learn about through a diary she kept after being diagnosed with a critical illness, and Farida, whose personality unfolds through her relationship with her surroundings, and with herself. The third character is Noa, Violet’s daughter and a student, a young woman in her twenties who is searching for meaning. Noa embarks on a spiritual quest to the past, so that she can learn how to build her life in the present and the future.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

Daughters of Iraq tells the story of Iraqi Jews from the points of view of three women. Sisters Violet and Farida grew up in Iraq. They lived a fairly good life until the politics of the region drove them to Israel. They had to make new lives for themselves. The third woman is Violet's daughter Noa. Born in Israel, Noa is discovering about her past through a diary written by Violet. These three stories are woven together with past and present combining to tell a marvelous tale of love, family, and endurance. 

This book is a translation from the original Hebrew, so I feel there are times that it doesn't read as smooth as you would expect. However, this did not bother me. I had a bit of a hard time getting into it in the beginning as each chapter seems to change narrators and time periods. Once you get adjusted to this, you really get drawn in. I found there to be a quiet sureness to the plot. There are no twists and turns or startling revelations. Instead you get an amazing story of three women who are living remarkable lives, even if they may not appear so to the rest of the world. I especially felt for Noa, who is really embarking on a journey of self-discovery through school work and life. When her Aunt Farida gives her Violet's diary, Noa is able to learn even more about mother and her past. 

One common theme for all three women was discovering their true home. Violet and Farida were torn from their home country and the life they knew so well. In Israel, things were much harder. They even lived in a tent for a while. Meanwhile, Noa has in some sense been running away from her home. When her mother was ill, she couldn't seem to face the reality of it. Noa never really understood herself or what it really meant to be "home." Her mother and aunt help her to discover this through their words. I found this book to be so interesting. I am not that familiar with the time periods covered in these countries. I really can't imagine being forced to leave your home because of your religion, and yet this family and many others were. I think this book will be of great interest to people who enjoy reading about history and/or strong women making their way in the world. It was a great book.

Book provided for review.

1 comment:

steve said...
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