Publishers WeeklyModern-day Jerusalem may seem an unlikely setting for romance especially between a Muslim man and Jewish woman but many improbable liaisons blossom in this promising first novel. The protagonist, Eve Cavell, is an American whose blundering presence in Jerusalem is deftly woven into a plot with many separate intrigues. Eve travels to Israel to fulfill the dying wish of her grandfather, but she initially has no interest in the region's complex political landscape, despite her Jewish heritage. From the moment she arrives, Eve's ignorance of the land's social customs wins her the wrong sort of attention from Israeli authorities. First, she rents a room in the forbidden Arab quarter and, as if to draw even more scrutiny, she takes a young Palestinian man, Salim, as her lover. Eve's situation is further complicated when she gets involved with a woman who runs an orphanage with connections to the PLO. Shames, a former Middle East correspondent, handles the complexities of Eve's visit to war-torn Jerusalem with a subtlety seldom seen in this genre. She is careful not to pass judgment on either side of the political equation as she skillfully intertwines the lives of this diverse cast of characters to produce a tightly executed, emotion-filled work. Shames avoids the temptation of offering trite reflections on the region's ongoing conflict and shuns the sort of moralizing that might have marred her sensual prose, making this streamlined debut a timely book of modest beauty. (Aug. 9) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThis evocative plea for the power of love in the heart of Middle East turmoil, the story of a young American woman of singular charm, shifts uneasily between tragedy and fantasy. As the Intifada rages, Eve Cavell enters Jerusalem, City of Light and Stone, accompanied by the ghost of her grandfather, who died starting the trip she has finished, and moves into the Muslim Quarter. Her raven hair and sensuous form are a siren call to men young and old, Palestinian and Israeli. While dashing Salim, apolitical scion of an old and once-proud Jerusalem family, shares her bed, watching them through the curtains from the street below is Mozes, ex-Hungarian partisan whose one novel, A Time For War, has been a bestseller in Israel for 40 years. Old and alone, he sees in Eve his Muse, who will help him to repudiate his former clamor for war and introduce a new message of love and understanding. Salim has to flee Jerusalem ahead of the jihad's disapproval of his form of collaboration, but Eve works her brand of magic on a street preacher, a father and son-the former temporarily leaving his wife for her, the latter trying to save her from Israeli intelligence-and ultimately on Mozes's son, who comes from Hungary to bury his father, killed at a bus stop by a knife-wielding fanatic. Richly textured, but the link between Eve's 24-7 sex appeal and the larger message of peaceful coexistence is tenuous, making her more cipher than symbol.
- MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.04(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.73(d)
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