Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar

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.

Highly recommended!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed Sabar's book. In case you are interested, here is a link the review on my blog: