All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan [in Library Journal]
Gabra Zackman narrates with intense intimacy, as if fully aware what she’s reading is more than mere words on the page. This electrifying love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man continues to inspire global headlines – it’s earned author Dorit Rabinyan (Persian Brides) both praise (Bernstein Prize, a letter of support from German chancellor Angela Merkel) and controversy (censorship by the Israeli Education Ministry; slander from Minister of Education Naftali Bennett who admits he’s never read the book; even spit in the face on a Tel Aviv street).
Perhaps inspired by her personal love story with the late Palestinian artist Hassan Hourani, Rabinyan brings scholar/translator Liat and painter Hilmi together in New York City, away from the political, social, and emotional pressures back home; that the lovers are both temporarily domiciled in the United States – Liat on a Fulbright, Hilmi with an artist’s visa – underlines the seeming impossibility of a long-term union, yet their explosive liaison shows little signs of abating. Zackman empathically covers the range from control to desperation, resignation to hope.
Verdict: For all libraries; multiple formats that encourage dialogue and deeper understanding should be welcome acquisitions.
Published: 2014 (Israel), 2017 (United States)