True immigrant tale that documents a now lost community
Oct 22, 2008
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 life in Iraq, Kurdish life in Israel, and immigrant life in America.
Though the portions of the book dealing with Ariel himself were less compelling, the tales of Yona's early life in Kurdistan are hypnotic- I had a difficult time putting this book down. The writing is excellent and the character of Yona breathes throughout the book. The book is never technical about linguistics; the story of Yona's work is presented as I believe he experienced it- a treasure hunt generating excitement with each new clue.
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 … 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