24-11-13

Shani Boianjiu: The People of Forever are Not Afraid

It was pure curiosity that made me grab this book and buy it. Sometimes you have a tendency to keep buying books that are close sisters or brothers of the one you allready know, either because you know you are going to like them and they will please you or because you know they are not going to "bother you" with new thoughts, new ideas and other things that wake you up. And sometimes it is good to change this.

It was the same reason that kept me reading. Curiosity about Israel, youth, girls and women, growing up in this era, growing up in a state that is permanently in conflict with others and itself...The book surprised me from the first page. It changes position all of the time, and tells the story from the eyes of three young women that grow up in a small border town in northern Isreal and than go into the army. Some parts are almost dream like and the chapter about Lea and the sandwich bar is like a painting by Edward Hopper (and has a quite surprising climax).

It reminded me a bit of other debuts like The Catcher in the Rye or De Avonden and it is full of the "newness" of youth, where everything that happens to you seems new, even when it is allready routine (thinking for the first time "this is not new" is also new). It did make me a bit jealous sometimes. 

On top of this I think it gives a very good idea about Israël and its unique situation in today's world. And not only about what gets in the news, but also about everyday's life for Israël's young people. I think I learned about that, but also about today's youth and about women in general. I loved reading it and will probably read it again in some time to catch what has eluded me during first reading. I loved the style and the freshness of the words.

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I started reading it in Bistro Beau Site in Ostend, in bright coastal autumn light, during lunchtime, and in the company of a Papegaei, https://www.facebook.com/Papegaei, a wonderful Belgian Ale. Could also be read with a kosher Chardonnay, but not with red wine. I feel it needs something with the colour of the sun.  

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