Author: Leora Skolkin-Smith
Publisher: Glad Day Books, 2005
The following review was contributed by: CAROLYN HOWARD-JOHNSON
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A Different Culture, A Different Time
Discovery. Here is a word full-up with the exotic, the unknown, with learning, with growing. Edges: O Israel, O Palestine by Leora Skolkin-Smith is packed with discovery as good fiction should be.
This coming of age story is set in pre-1967 Israel. A young girl of 14 who has already suffered more than her share of heartache is still attached to her mother, so much so that she breathes her in, feels her with every sense. In turn her mother, who is also grieving, is unnaturally attached to her younger daughter. When she takes her two daughters away from their base in New York to the family she left in native Jerusalem, she is thrashing about in search of some serenity, perhaps some closure,
In Israel the scents fill the young girl's nostrils, the colors, the grit, the culture the odd way that these semi-relatives--her blood but of a different nations somehow--overwhelm her. She is intrigued by her new surroundings but uncomfortable with her them, with being still a child but also with her growing consciousness of her changing body and emotions. Already planning to run away to Paris, she meets the son of an American diplomat and welcomes his familiarity when a horrific event forces her to follow through with her plans. The young man, not much older than she, is her vehicle to freedom, to self-knowledge and eventually to a sense of belonging.
Edges is not only a story that explores the very edges of the protagonist's psyche (and therefore the edges of our own) but it is also an introduction to a culture and place that--even if we should be lucky enough to travel to this mysterious realm at the southern edge of the Mediterranean we would never know it in quite this way. Jerusalem and environs comes alive. It is sensual, visual and, though exotic, no longer foreign.
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Author's Website: www.leoraskolkinsmith.com