Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar

Review and Giveaway

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar
Non-fiction, Algonquin Books, 334 pgs.


This is a guest post written by Colleen of Foreign Circus Library.

Though Ariel Sabar may regret that his relationship with his father was so contentious, readers have cause to rejoice because that fractured relationship led Sabar to pen this elegant tale of his father's life and language.

Yona Sabar, a Jewish Kurd, grew up speaking Aramaic, an ancient language now all but lost. He is also a celebrated linguist who has worked tirelessly to document his language before it dies. This book traces that effort, weaving a colorful tapestry of Jewish life in Iraq, Kurdish life in Israel, and immigrant life in America.

Though the portions of the book dealing with Ariel himself were less compelling, the tales of Yona's early life in Kurdistan are hypnotic- I had a difficult time putting this book down. The writing is excellent and the character of Yona breathes throughout the book. The book is never technical about linguistics; the story of Yona's work is presented as I believe he experienced it- a treasure hunt generating excitement with each new clue.

Five stars. Highly recommended!

Thank you Colleen, I thought it was an excellent book too. Thank you to Algonquin Books for the ARC they sent. I am offering it to one of my readers. To enter:

1)Tell us the best book of Jewish interest you've read, fiction or non-fiction.

2)Blog about this giveaway and put a link back to it and I'll give you a second entry. If you don't have a blog, email 3 friends telling them about this giveaway and copying me at sfuhringer (at) sympatico (dot) ca.

Entry is open worldwide until midnight Sunday February 8, 2009.Be sure to leave an email address if you don't have a blog where I can contact you.
Winner will be announced on Monday February 9, 2009.

This giveaway is part of the Bloggy Carnival. Check it out for other giveaways.

45 comments:

  1. I read a book called Masada: The Last Fortress that I thought was wonderful.

    I blogged:
    http://morbid-romantic.net/2009/01/26/book-giveaways-0126-0201

    Valorie
    morbidromantic@gmail.com

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  2. This was an excellent book, in my opinion.

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  3. Most of the Jewish related books I have read are World War II memoirs. The first that came to mind was Mascot by Mark Kurzem. It's about a man who is Jewish, but as a boy was used as a Mascot for the S.S.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I liked The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory. I have a bit of an Elizabethean addiction, so some of the cheesy romance-novelesque qualities of it can be overlooked. but it was a very interesting perspective on Jews during the Inquisition.

    lkziegler[at]gmail[dot]com

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  5. I found Judaism for Dummies at a yard sale and found it very interesting.

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  6. I read My Name is Asher Lev and The Chosen when I was 14 (strange reading list choices for my Catholic high school)- they still resonate and I still reread them!

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  7. The current favorite is Beaufort by Ron Leshem. It takes place during Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000 and follows a group of soldiers stationed at the historic outpost.

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  8. I read a lot of WWII fiction and non-fiction. One that I just read is The Girl in the Red Coat.

    This one looks great. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  9. I've posted this on Win A Book. No need to enter the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  10. No need to enter me Sandra. I blogged about your giveaway here:

    http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/2009/01/this-weeks-giveaways-galore_23.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'd like to mention a recent favorite (one of my favorite books from 2008) City of Thieves. It was a really engaging novel and since so many books of Jewish interest are set in Germany/Poland, the Russian setting was unique.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sunny* I've read The City of Thieves and have it on my recommended list for the Jewish lit challenge. I loved it. Thank you.
    Colleen* I loved every book I ever read by Chaim Potok. Asher Lev and The Chosen were his first and best but none of them ever disappointed me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I haven't read many Jewish Fiction books. I do remember one that I read from childhood that had a Jewish main character. It was called "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" by Judy Blume and it was a book I read a few times as a young girl.

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  14. sounds amazing thanks for the giveaway

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  15. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

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  16. I have read a lot of books on Jews during the world war but they were all on the atrocities commited on Jews. I loved The book thief but i am not sure if it comes in this category.
    I want to know about Jews and what better than this book. Please enter me.

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  17. i usually do not enter contests fro books, however this story pulled me in and I would love to own a coy of this book.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The last one I read would be People of the Book.

    My Father's Paradise sounds very good. I love themes of lost languages. So intriguing!

    I am putting your contest on my blog
    florida982002[at]yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. The only Jewish book I've read was the year of Living Biblically.

    I'd really like to expand my horizons!

    Jenny

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  20. I still the the Diary of Anne Frank is a classic that everyone needs to read.

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  21. the only one I have read is The Diary of Anne frank, but I really liked it (actually, I need to hunt it up so I can read it again)
    please enter me in your giveaway-thanks!
    trishnatey@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Israel, My Beloved by Kay Arthur

    G'Day from Australia!

    Deborah @ Comfort Joy Designs
    comfortjoydesigns.blogspot.com
    comfortjoydesigns{AT}gmail{DOT}com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Although a simply read, I really enjoyed the WW2 view portrayed in "The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas".

    The movie is actually a decent representation of the book also.

    ReplyDelete
  24. The Diary of Ann Frank.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Words that Hurt, Words That Heal by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. It's a must read.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Night by elie wiesel (holocaust)
    KawaiiNeko2008 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I haven't really read any Jewish books as an adult. Number the Stars had a big impact on me as a child though. Thanks! sbcashortie (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  28. everything is illuminated by johathan safran foer - i really enjoyed this book and i think they may have made a movie about it

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  29. As a linguistics buff (it's part of the field I'm in) I find it fascinating that Aramaic still exists in small pockets of isolation in the world, so this book sounds absolutely wonderful! As a child, Lois Lowry's 'Number The Stars' had a huge impact on my life and I still have the copy I first read at 8 tucked away in my keepsake box. As an adult I've read all of Weisel's books including 'Night'... Alongside that, there is 'Masada,' 'City of Thieves,'A Tale of Love and Darkness,' etc. etc. In the non-fiction department, there is 'The Return of Zionism,'The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew and Muslim Poetry From Spain,' 'Writing in the Dark,' etc. etc. Please enter me. Thank you!

    Aliya D.
    aliyadaya(at)shaw(dot)ca

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  30. the classic....Diary of Anne Frank

    ReplyDelete
  31. portnoy's complaint by Roth is a great book, even if he doesn't portray being Jewish in a great light. thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I blogged about it here
    http://kissmybook.blogspot.com/2009/01/another-week-of-contests.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. I would have to say Anne Frank's diary. I read it while I was 10 and it has been one of my favorite books since.

    Please enter me - I would be thrilled to win.

    hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I blogged about it here:

    http://athomewithbooks.blogspot.com/2009/01/weekly-giveaway-roundup_31.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. My current favorites are The City of Thieves by David Benioff and A Thread of Grace by Maria Doria Russell. I thought both were excellent.

    Irene
    cyeates@nycap.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. The Diary of Anne Frank is a fantastic book, though compelling as well.

    I think My Father's Paradise also will be a great book to read and would love to win a copy. Please include me in the draw.

    oshea(at)shaw(dot)ca

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sadly, the only one I can think of is the stunning novel, Diary of Anne Frank, which tells me I need to expand into this genre more.

    My Father's Paradise sounds lie a must read and I am writing it down as my luck is not that great when entering contest.

    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    ReplyDelete
  39. I blogged about the giveaway: http://rundpinne.blogspot.com/2009/02/just-because.html

    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    ReplyDelete
  40. My favorite is The Diary of Anne Frank. Also worth mentioning are Exodus, the Winds of War, My Name is Asher Lev, to name a few!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally.

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  42. I liked the Diary of Anne frank.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I likeed the Diary of Anne Frank.

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  44. This would be my first. Count me in :)

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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