Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Father's Paradise

My Father's Paradise - A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq.
By Ariel Sabar
Genre: NonFiction

This was the first advance reading copy I have ever received. My heart jumped the minute I saw the book. I have been totally into the Orbis Terrarum challenge and this would be yet another perfect book to read for the challenge! I would like to classify this book as both Iraq and Israel. When you read this book, you will totally understand my reasons for doing so..

The book was all that I had expected and even more. If i had to rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, i'd easily give it a 30! I guess that's enough to tell you that I totally enjoyed reading the book!

Ariel Sabar is an American Journalist and this is the story of his family. Ariel Sabar grew up in Los Angeles. His dad was an immigrant from Israel and a professor at UCLA. Though the literary community and everyone who had ever know Yona Sabar praised him, Ariel could never understand what it was they saw in his dad - he was just a man who refused to fit into the society he lived in. An awkward sense of dressing, bad self-given haircuts, accented english, etc were the only things he saw in place of the humility, warmth, patience, etc that everyone else seemed to see in Yona.

Who is this Yona Sabar, you might wonder. He is currently a very distinguished professor (of Hebrew) in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department of UCLA. His field of interest - Neo-Aramaic. Yes, the language that we think is nearly extinct.. He has been almost single handedly turning the filed of Neo-Aramaic from an exotic marginal curiosity to one commanding serious and growing attention at major academic conferences. He has the reputation of being the laguage's foremost expert and gives speeche about the language in many conferences around the world.

My Father's Paradise is Ariel Sabar's attempt to bridge the gap between his dad and himself. He figured that the way to make up would be to truly understand his dad and his origins. He digs deep to gather any bit of information he could gather about his dad, his grand parents, great grand parents, etc.. By discovering his past, he created a link that somehow never existed between father and son.

I totally enjoyed reading the book. There were parts in the beginning of the book that seemed to drag forever about historical facts and that kinda bored me a little. It seemed to be too much information. But as the book progressed, I totally fell in love with it. You cannot help but like Yona. Not just like..but totally admire. What he has achieved in his lifetime is something many can only dream about. But as Ariel points out, to gain anything in life, you need to make sacrifices. Yona had to make his share of sacrifices too. Leaving home to come to the US in pursuit of a dream is not easy.

I could go on and on about the book but that wouldn't do the book justice. But I would totally recommend this book to anyone who loves reading. A book that teaches us to be proud of our cultures and to respect and admire what we came from. A book that makes us want to search deep into our souls and find out who we actually are and where we came from..

A very powerful novel and I am sure everyone who likes to read will totally enjoy this..

Now all that you would have to do is wait for Sepember 16th 2008 and grab your own copy of My Father's Paradise!!


Sandy said...

Hi Ramya,
I love to read this book...I missed my chance many times :)

Seaside Book worm said...

I also received this book a few months ago. I picked this book for the Jewish challenge. I can't wait to read this. Thanks for the great review.

Corinne said...

So, I am helping Bethany out with her list and came up on this one. I heard the author interviewed on NPR!! I couldn't get out of my car because I had to hear the end - I need to read this book!