Edges is an elegant and moving novel. Leora Skolkin-Smith has that rare gift of the writer who can convey the sensibility -- the essence of a place and its people -- with precision and clarity. A provocative debut.
New York City, New York (PRWEB) March 2, 2008
A young woman is thrown into the complex tensions of pre-1967 Israel and Palestine when her family relocates from the US. She grows up fast, overcoming an overly intense relationship with her mother, and emerging into a womanhood shaped by the boundary-less spaces of a lost geography and people.
Fourteen year old Liana travels to Jerusalem in the early Sixties, accompanied by her older sister and larger than life mother. The trip takes her from a sheltered life in an East Coast suburb to the hot, bustling and thoroughly confusing landscape of the Middle East, where Jewish and Arab cultures exist side by side in an uneasy truce. She soon drifts away from her colorful family and their over the top relatives, and starts a furtive, increasingly passionate, secret relationship with the runaway son of an American diplomat. Together they abscond to neighboring Palestine, where they hide in an abandoned monastery, while a frantic search for the two missing youngsters gets under way on the other side of an increasingly hostile border. When Liana is finally tracked down, she is immediately whisked out of the country and back to the US, never to see, or hear from, the first love in her life, the American diplomat's son, again.
It's the time of the Cold War, and the story takes us back to a long-forgotten past, to members of the 1940's Haganah and Jewish underground who find themselves displaced amidst the chaotic and complex tensions of an Israel just beginning to modernize and expand.
Liana goes through growing pains of her own, as she absconds across the border to Jordan with an older boy and emerges into womanhood. The deeply sensual story explores the young girls troubled sexual experiences and the young country's growing pains, on both sides of the increasingly hostile borders.
"Edges", by Leora Skolkin-Smith
Praise for the book "Edges", by Leora Skolkin-Smith:
"Edges" is a dark and penetrating look at pre-1967 Israel and Palestine through the eyes of a 14 year old Liana Bialik. After her American father's suicide, Liana's Jerusalem-born mother decides to take Liana and her sister back to her homeland, where her family had lived for four generations. Once they get to Israel Liana, who feels overwhelmed and suffocated by her mother, begins to detach herself from her. She embarks on a mission of self-discovery to learn why her mother does not speak about her father and why he took his own life.
"Edges is well-written, powerful in both imagery and subject matter..."
-Jewish Book World, Spring 2006 - Vol. 24, Number 1
"In Edges Leora Smith skillfully tells the story of a girl of fourteen in the wake of her father's suicide, brought abruptly by her distraught mother from a comfortable suburban Westchester to the harsh terrain of a young State of Israel. The girl is caught in the maelstrom of political claims between Israel and a West Bank, still part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The turmoil both of the girl and her mother is graphically detailed as they struggle to define themselves in the light of a haunted past and present. The poetry of the girl's sexual awakening ripples through many pages, softening the fierce realities of the conflict between Arab and Jew. The pages evoke as well the memories of a shared land, and the mother's childhood growing up in an old Jerusalem before the city was separated by physical barriers, the religious, cultural, divide between Arab and Jew easier to bridge. The author's vivid sense of landscape, her gift for identifying with both mother and daughter, Arab and Jew, gives the
novel a unique sense of balance and brings the reader, regardless of political conviction into sympathy with this portrait of a vanished Jerusalem."
-Mark Mirsky, FICTION
"Edges is an elegantly written, quite moving novel that has a lot to say about love, identity, history and the meaning of nationality. The book is worth reading alone for its superb language, but it is gripping and unforgettable as well in its story telling and evocation of place and emotions. It is a wonderful novel by an author with a quite accomplished voice and style, one well deserving a wide and receptive audience.
--Oscar Hijuelos, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning novel, "The Mambo Kings"
"Edges is an elegant and moving novel. Leora Skolkin-Smith has that rare gift of the writer who can convey the sensibility -- the essence of a place and its people -- with precision and clarity. A provocative debut."
--Katharine Weber, book critic, author of "Triangle"
"Where, and how and to whom do we really belong? Skolkin's brilliant debut novel is a hypnotic meditation on the ever-changing boundaries of love and need. A coming of age story of the bond between a young American and her powerful mother, etched in a wartime Mideast as shifting and dangerous and mysterious as the Israeli desert."
--Caroline Leavitt, columnist, Boston Globe, author of "Girls in Trouble" , reviewer for People Magazine
"Edges" is a novel told with restraint and poetic precision...memorable (for the) the sense of place that Ms. Skolkin-Smith has achieved -- the sunny and scary Jerusalem and countryside -- and the hope, love, hate and fatalism of the groups, Palestinian and Israeli, living amongst and apart from each other..."
-- Robert Whitcomb , "The Providence Journal".
"A feverish, sensual, remarkable book."
--Meredith Sue Willis
About the Author or "Edges":
Ms. Skolkin-Smith has received grants from The New York State Council on the Arts, The Department of Cultural affairs, The Millay Colony for the Arts, The Vermont Studio Center, and Art-Without-Walls. She was awarded a Teaching Fellowship for graduate work at Sarah Lawrence College where she holds a BA and MFA in writing. Recently awarded a PEN/Faulkner Writers-in-the-Schools Award and Selected for the Miami International Book Festival, Ms. Skolkin-Smith's novel "Edges" is in its third printing and will be release as an audiobook, narrated by acclaimed actress Tovah Feldshuh. The novel was also picked by "The Bloomsbury Review's 25th Anniversary Issue" as a "Favorite Book of the Last 25 Years.
Please go to our website at: http://www.thefragilemistress.com for Upcoming News about the making of Edges into the film, "The Fragile Mistress"
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