Customer Reviews for

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past

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  • Posted October 8, 2014

    Call me ignorant, but I hadn┬┐t a clue there had been Kurdish Jew

    Call me ignorant, but I hadn’t a clue there had been Kurdish Jews in Iraq, much less Jews considered part of Lost Tribes of Israel and speak the language of Jesus Christ. Thank you to My Father’s Paradise for curing that ignorance and for so much more. I loved this book in which author Ariel Sabar marries history, biography, memoir, and even throws in a little linguistics (my true love) to boot.

    Chronicling his attempt to connect with his father Yona, Sabar transports the reader to early 20th-century Iraq, where Muslims, Christians, and Jews live together peacefully in isolated Kurdistan. (Isn’t that a concept?) A consummate storyteller, he weaves together a narrative on the history of Kurdish Jews, their everyday lives, and the hardships and triumphs of his father’s family – a narrative that reads as beautifully as any novel.

    Totally riveted, I found myself feeling disappointed when the family emigrated to Israel, but I shouldn’t have. Reading about Yona family’s adjusting to the struggles of a new life, including prejudice, was equally absorbing. And loving anything to do with linguistics, when Yona began research on his language, Aramaic, I was over the moon with each new tidbit about this practically extinct treasure and where it fits into the family of languages.

    There is so much more to love about his book, including how the author finally begins to understand and appreciate his father and his history.  I can do nothing but give it the highest praise possible. It is beautifully, lovingly written and tells a story I could have kept on reading. This definitely will not be my last read by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    I truly delightful read, which I did not expect to enjoy as much

    I truly delightful read, which I did not expect to enjoy as much as I did. A labor of love from a son to father who was born in Kurdistan to a Jewish family who was later forced to leave and immigrate to Israel and his rise to professorship at UCLA  for mother's tongue Aramaic.  As a product of the Israeli education system I had to learn by heart and regurgitate for the matriculation examination years upon years of  Jewish European history. Gaining insight into the story and history of the Kurdish Jews was both enjoyable and educational. And as an immigrant myself I found it amusing to recognizes similar experiences and similar reactions despite being years apart. Very enjoyable book. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Reads like a novel

    One of the last surviving pockets of Aramaic speakers was in a tiny isolated village in Kurdish Iraq. The author, in searching for his family's roots, illuminates the existence of a Kurdish Jewish community that had virtually no contact with the outside world beyond the mountainous reqion of the Kurds. This book is a fascinating look at the experience of one family, but in an historical context. Yet it reads like a novel, very interesting and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 1, 2010

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    Posted November 21, 2009

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