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Edges: O Israel, O Palestineby Leora Skolkin-Smith
Synopses & Reviews
Edges takes the reader to an Israel in 1963, before high walls formed a border, when, instead, metal wires hung "like hosiery lines" across the land. Liana Barish is fourteen years old when the suicide of her American father forces her mother, mourning, in despair back to her family — to Jerusalem where she grew up. For Liana it is the place where the powerful interdependence of mother and daughter — physical and spiritual — ends. It is the place of her sexual awakening.
"Edges is an elegantly written, moving novel that has a lot to say about love, identity, history and the meaning of nationality. The book is worth reading alone for its superb language, but it is gripping and unforgettable as well in its story telling and evocation of place and emotions. It is a wonderful novel by an author with an accomplished voice and style, one well deserving a wide and receptive audience." Oscar Hijuelos, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning novel, The Mambo King Sings Songs of Love
"This is an intimate and compelling portrait of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary time and place. This first publication from Glad Day Books, Grace Paley's new imprint, is a promising debut." Robert Gray, author of Publisher's Marketplace and Fresh Eyes
"Ms. Skolkin-Smith's first novel is a captivating story giving the reader a view into a land and culture of another time...This slim novel has wonderful images and evocative writing. It is a novel about coming-of-age and about family and love. I imagine it is one that will stay with me for a long time." Bookgirl Nightstand
"The poetry of the girl's sexual awakening ripples through many pages, softening the fierce realities of the conflict between Arab and Jew. The pages evoke as well the memories of a shared land, and the mother's childhood growing up in an old Jerusalem before the city was separated by physical barriers, the religious, cultural, divide between Arab and Jew easier to bridge. Edges is a powerful evocation of lost worlds which it is a joy to wander back into." Mark Mirsky, Fiction Magazine
"Skolkin's brilliant debut novel is a hypnotic meditation on the ever-changing boundaries of love and need." Caroline Leavitt, author of Girls in Trouble and Coming Back To Me
"Edges is an elegant and moving novel. A provocative debut." Katharine Weber, author of The Music Lesson and Little Women
"Skolkin-Smith, in clear, burnished prose, fuses personal and political rifts into an exhilirating debut novel." Philip Graham, Director, Creative Writing Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Edges is a Jewish Book Council Selection published by Grace Paley's "Glad Day Books."
Edges is set in a pre-1967 Israel, during the Cold War. Liana Barish is fourteen years old when the suicide of her American father forces her to return with her sister and mother to Jerusalem where her mother was born and grew up. Liana's family were once members of the 1940's Haganah and are now living among the complex tensions of Israel's modernization and expansion. Liana learns about her mother's childhood in the old city, her tragic uncle. With her young lover she lives in the Palestinian world beyond Jerusalem's border. She grows away from her intense relationship with her mother into a womanhood formed by the boundary-less spaces of a lost geography and people.
About the Author
Born in Manhattan in 1952, Leora spent her childhood between New York and Israel, traveling with her family to her mother's birthplace in old Jerusalem every three years. She has been published in Persea: An International Review and the Sarah Lawrence Review. The recipient of grants from The Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and P.E.N. American Center, she has also developed and directed writing programs for the mentally ill in eight major psychiatric hospitals. In the last few years she was co-founder of The Emmett Till/Anne Frank program, a multicultural educational initiative for Afro-American and Jewish youth in Brooklyn. Leora holds a BA and MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. This is her first published full-length novel.
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