Day: June 27, 2015

Review of ‘The Settler’

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The Settler by Orit Arfa is billed as a historical Middle Eastern romance, but it’s much more than that. It’s the story of how one woman, Sara Dakar, a resident of the Jewish settlement of Gush Katif, deals with life after she and her fellow settlers are expelled and the settlement destroyed. Even more, it’s a story of modern Israel, and the question of whether it’s a democratic country or a nascent religious dictatorship.

Arfa takes us through the broad sweep of Middle Eastern politics vis a vis Israel, and a down and dirty tour through present day Israel as it copes with the contradictions and inconsistencies in a society that has seen more than its share of death and sadness as its people seek love and fun.

This is not a weekend read, unless you have a long holiday weekend with no other distractions. It’s hard to put down, but it’s also doubtful that you can get through it in one sitting; it’s just too intense.

Regardless of where you stand on the Arab-Israeli issue or the problem of Israeli settlements, you will enjoy reading this book. In fact, if you want to understand the dilemma that’s the Israeli problem better, I recommend this be one of the texts that you consult. Four stars to Arfa for an interesting read.

Review of ‘The Wishing Coin’

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When Julia Preston, a TV personality, buys a wishing coin that grants her every wish, she sees it as a blessing. But, as the power of being able to get anything she wants starts to darken her spirit and consume her, she learns a valuable lesson.

The Wishing Coin by Antara Man is a modern fairy tale that shows that power is corruptive, but at the same time, the author shows that redemption is possible. The reader is shown, through Julia’s actions and reactions, just how this can happen. A short, but interesting tale of human emotions that is an enjoyable summer read.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. It was the second book by this author that I’ve read, and it has made me want to see more—preferably a longer work that will allow her to take her talents to the next level. I give it three and a half stars.