Tamar and the men she loves will frustrate you with their national traditions and charm you with their dependence on religious customs. They charmed me. They will draw you onto the streets of Marrakesh and through the colorful marketplaces of old Morocco till you can smell the spices, feel your fingers tingle beneath the fabrics, and taste the coffee.
Tamar’s early life is that of the Jews in the 1950s toward the end of French dominated Morocco, the beginning of Muslim dominance, and the consequent mass exile of Jews to Israel. The second half of the book reflects the history of Moroccan Jewry during the arduous early years of the state of Israel.
This is a charming story, simply written and rich in texture, and while some of the transitions seem a little too abrupt for my taste (from deepest mourning to wanting to dance and sing,) the characters are vivid, complex, and beautifully flawed. They will make you take stock of your own lives and loves—where you’ve succeeded, and where you might be still treading the wrong path. It sure gave me pause—and it brought me to tears when I least expected it, which are the best moments. Indeed, the novel is filled with heartbreak, and with the amazing strength and generosity of the human spirit.
You won’t be able to put it down. I couldn’t
The downside is only in the language. While author Yamit Armbrister is undoubtedly a fluid and gifted storyteller, this English translation seems to have been rushed to print before it was technically ready. It is in need of heavy editing in its use of English terminology and grammar.