I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book's description, but knowing I'm not a fan of "sweeping multi-generational sagas" on the fiction side, I approached "My Father's Paradise" with a little nervousness. But Ariel Sabar won me over very quickly with what turned out to be a surprisingly engrossing, educational, and ultimately moving story.
The narrative covers a lot of literal ground, from Kurdistan to Israel to New Haven to Los Angeles and back, but also thematic ground, addressing history, linguistics, cultural and generational clashes, and quite a bit more. At its heart, though, it's a story of a family -- and while those often can end up maudlin, uncomfortably personal, or larded with irrelevancies, Sabar has kept a light hand and a fine balance, and has produced a remarkable story, one I think will remain with me for quite a while. For not knowing what to expect, I ended up very pleasantly surprised.
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 … more
Sabar, Ariel. "My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq", Algonquin, 2008. Reconciling Past and Present Amos Lassen We really do not have a great deal of literature about Jewish life in Iraq so "My Father's Paradise" is extremely welcome. Ariel Sabar, a noted journalist gives us a look at past and present in the Arab country and it is all fascinating. Kurdish Iraq can be described as "a … more