BURNT OFFERING by David Spicehandler


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The settlement of Dror -- and above it a forest planted over two generations -- and above that Aguilla, an Arab village, and beyond that the Trappist monastery, Stella Montis, from which the Arabs can get unbroken view down to the Jerusalem road, shut off from Dror by the trees. And at the time this story opens, Jerusalem has been cut off from the coast for 59 days, as truck after truck is ambushed. The period is the period of the Jewish War of Liberation, a strange personal kind of war. This is the story of one small segment of it, a segment which becomes symbolic of the desperate struggle to hold the right to a hard- won land- and of what that struggle does to the men- and the women- involved. Dror is a kibbutz, a small and poor one, but one which its people hold dear. There's an inner conflict between the land and the settlement -- and some grow hard in the effort to make a choice. An American, trained in the use of explosives, has been brought in to do a job. How he approaches his assignment- how it affects the people of the settlement- how each man and boy implicated seems to have to play a dual role, makes for a story that in the telling, largely by bald, unvarnished dialogue, is difficult to read, leaves a stark impress on the reader who has hewed to the line to the end.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1961
Publisher: Macmillan