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Banned in the author’s home nation of Israel, All the Rivers tells the story of Liat (an Israeli) and Hilmi (a Palestinian) who meet while she is studying in New York.
The story is largely Liat’s and while their romance is passionate and all-consuming, she knows that the relationship has no real chance of surviving when she returns home.
You can read her thoughts on the banning of her novel here
The blurb of this novel (collection of connected pieces) reminded me of Tim O’Brien’s ‘The things they carried’. However I struggled to follow the opening sections and found the connections difficult as well.
The storylines are brutal and very graphic in places, as is the nature of war. I think that junior or less mature readers would struggle with the way the narrative jumps and the stream of consciousness nature of the dividing sections.
This is a bit of a saga about the effects of World War one on a family and their long time friends and neighbours.
In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood.
For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges: torn between her love for two young men, her sense of duty and her will to live her life to the full, she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?
Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as the Edwardian age disintegrates into the Great War, and they strike out to seek what happiness can be salvaged from the ruins of the old world.
Mike is a young Jewish boy trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto, relying on his grandfather’s old coat which hides inside it not only puppets, but secrets of many kinds. His puppets not only keep the horrors of the ghetto out of mind for a few precious moments, they also touch the ‘soul’ of one Nazi soldier.
These two characters’ stories cover 70 years and thousands of miles – and are finally brought together in New York outside a modern theatre.
Historical facts fill the final pages of the novel – again as a reminder of who and what must never be forgotten.
Beautifully written – cleverly crafted. A must read.
Sam wakes up one morning at dawn. It’s strangely quiet. Outside his hut, the village is absolutely silent. No cockerels are crowing. Something is horribly wrong. Stepping outside, Sam’s worst fears are realised. A line of children, all armed with AK-47s, are rushing at him, yelling like crazy. It’s God’s Freedom Army.
Within hours, the strongest children are rounded up, Sam among them, and marched away for training. Left behind is a desolate village and so, so many bodies.
This is an excellent book with realistic experiences and fears – highly recommended