“Heirs of Eden” Over 20 Years In The Making

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Harold Gershowitz’s long awaited book release is available on Amazon.

Heirs of Eden book cover

Heirs of Eden book cover

If you can, you go where your source material is, and because a fair amount of the book takes place in the Middle East, I was eager to talk, face-to-face, with Palestinians and Israelis both in Israel and on the West Bank.

When Hal Gershowitz, author of awarding-winning historical novel, “Remember This Dream”, set out to write his second novel, “Heirs of Eden” (http://haroldgershowitz.com/) he didn’t anticipate the project would take him half way around the world from his peaceful and bucolic suburban home in Northfield Illinois, to the tense and sometimes violent Middle East during the first Intifada. He also never expected the book to take as long as it did to complete.

“Authoring a novel is about writing and rewriting, about vision and revision,” Gershowitz says. “A novel isn’t finished until the author is satisfied that the story says what the author intends it to say and does what he or she intends it to do. It took me many months to put the story on paper, but many years to get it right.”

“If you can, you go where your source material is, and because a fair amount of the book takes place in the Middle East, I was eager to talk, face-to-face, with Palestinians and Israelis both in Israel and on the West Bank. And, as was the case with my first novel, I wanted to walk in the footsteps of the characters I would be creating,” Gershowitz said.

Gershowitz also arranged meetings with people who had attended Stanford during the years his character Noah would have been a student there. “The people who met with me in Palo Alto and San Jose were terrific as they described, in wonderful detail, so much of the minutia about life at Stanford a half century ago. I wanted to know where students hung out, where they made out, where they met up with one another and where they went for burgers and pizza.

He speaks respectfully, almost affectionately, of the Israelis he met in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Kibbutz Yad Mordachai, as well as of the Palestinians he met in Jaffa and on the West Bank. He is especially moved when recounting his visit with the late Elias Freij, the former Palestinian Mayor of Bethlehem.

“It was a very tense time with the Intifada raging on the West Bank, and I was surprised that he was willing to meet with me so openly” Gershowitz recalled. “When I expressed my concern, Freij smiled and said, ‘Why are you surprised? Do you think someone might shoot me.’" Gershowitz returned the smile and simply said, "yes, that thought occurred to me." After all, Yasser Arafat had, in fact, threatened “ten bullets in the chest” for anyone advocating an end to the Intifada.

Freij replied, “So what. Everyone dies. You might die of a heart attack,” he said, “and I might die for peace. What is the better way to die?” he asked.

Gershowitz also recalls, rather wistfully, Teddy Kollek, the late, revered Mayor of Jerusalem. “Teddy so lamented the distrust and tension that prevailed in the Holy Land. He felt strongly that rejectionists on both sides were equally intractable, and equally dangerous.

Interestingly, Heirs of Eden is not primarily a story about the Middle East or about Israel and the Palestinians. Much of the book takes place in Washington DC, and Palo Alto, California. It is really a book about two families and two central characters, and how political and religious tensions and animosities burden individuals who simply want to live, love and get on with their lives.

For additional information, contact Harold Gershowitz at halwrite(at)gmail(dot)com.

Harold Gershowitz is a retired businessman, lecturer, former adjunct college instructor, and award-winning author of “Remember This Dream”, a Chicago Tribune bestseller and winner of the 1989 Friends of Literature Award for Fiction. Mr. Gershowitz also is a prolific essayist and co-author of the “Of Thee I Sing 1776” series of weekly essays. Mr. Gershowitz has been honored with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from the Catholic Theological Union of North America, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anti Defamation League. “Heirs of Eden” is currently available on Amazon.com, and will soon be available nationally to retail book stores.

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