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A Palestine Affair
Synopses & Reviews
This swift and sensual novel of passion and politics transports us to British Palestine, where the Arabs, the British, and the Jews mingle in a scene of colonial excess and unease. It is 1924, and Mark Bloomberg, a disillusioned London painter, arrives in Jerusalem to take up a propaganda commission. When he and his American wife, Joyce, accidentally witness the murder of a prominent Orthodox Jew near their cottage, they become embroiled in an investigation that will test their marriage and their characters. Joyce, an ardent Zionist, is pulled into an affair with Robert Kirsch, the British policeman investigating the case, while Bloomberg, transfixed by the desert light, attempts to capture on canvas the complex, shifting truths of the region.
Like Kirsch, whose brother was killed in France in 1918, all of the characters here have come to Palestine to escape the grief of the First World War, and are forced to confront their principles and their hearts in the midst of a culture in the throes of painful emergence.
Lushly detailed and compellingly cinematic, A Palestine Affair illuminates a lesser-known aspect of the history of the Middle East as it tells a powerful story in which love proves to be, ultimately, a force as strong as politics.
"The tone of A Palestine Affair resonates with Hemingway's harrowing work after World War I. Wilson has the same ear for unanswered longing, the same courage to let situations hover unresolved. He understands the strain of conflicting loyalties, the pressure to identify with one cause or another when all one really wants is a place to call home. This quietly moving novel doesn't provide any relief from that longing, but it offers a deep understanding of the predicament." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
?Jonathan Wilson has written an engrossing, complex, and fearless tale of politics, art, murder, sex, and history (personal and global) set in the rough and tumble that was Palestine in 1924.? Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent
?How rare to read a novel that moves with the velocity of a thriller and that is, at the same time, so splendidly written that even if there were no plot at all I'd have turned the pages with grateful anticipation. The characters glow with persuasive life, and Wilson exquisitely evokes the land itself as it seethed under British rule — a place stamped by history but unformed, too; an older world that seems younger because of all the possibility in it. Wilson's story of love and betrayal merges historical, political and private passions to create a beautiful and timeless tale.? Jonathan Rosen, author of The Talmud and the Internet
??Worth reading? An Englishman might say: 'Rather.? An American would put it differently: ?You bet it is!?? Saul Bellow
?A Palestine Affair evokes, quite tangibly, the days of the Mandate. This is a true and touching act of the imagination. The book's very sexy, a nostalgic and provocative envisioning of that time. I recommend it highly." David Mamet
When Mark Bloomberg, a disillusioned London painter, arrives in Palestine to take up a propaganda commission, he and his wife accidentally witness the murder of a prominent Orthodox Jew. This provocative murder--swiftly pinned on an Arab boy--becomes a test of their marriage and their ideals.
About the Author
Jonathan Wilson is the author of a novel and a book of short stories. He is chair of the English Department at Tufts University and lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
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