Much of journalist Nassib’s second novel (after I Loved You for Your Voice) takes place between 1923 and 1937, telling the story of a young Golda Meir and her love affair with Palestinian aristocrat Albert Pharaon: “An impossible story? Almost impossible, obliged to unfold in the tiny space of this almost, where things that should not happen do happen, the narrow patch of earth where forbidden flowers grow, instinctive impulses, life itself.” More than a story of ill-fated love, this is a deeply personal history of Palestine during that tumultuous period, relating the creation of Israel from two different but not necessarily conflicting perspectives. What makes the novel successful is that Nassib does not choose sides; in his Palestine, the only true villains are those who use rumors to create panic. The novel also includes a section titled “A few historical references” that will be helpful for readers unfamiliar with the history of Zionism. Highly recommended for all large fiction collections.
By Karen Walton