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Reincarnation has a certain enduring appeal, and Metzger, in her first hard-cover, takes the notion even further. Her heroine, filmmaker Dina Z, is an American who becomes increasingly obsessed with the story of her biblical namesake Dinah, and goes to Israel to find the present-day lover who is the reincarnation of Shechem, the heathen. Dina stays in Jerusalem with her old friend Sybil, who is also in love with a dead man--a popular Israeli singer who committed suicide by deliberately stepping on a land mine. Sybil is writing his biography. Meanwhile, Dina is determined to visit Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, because it was in Nablus those thousands of years ago that the young Dinah was ravished by the handsome Shechem. Middle East politics being somewhat constant, Dinah's biblical family had, in retaliation, killed Shechem and his family. A grieving Dinah had given birth to a daughter and had then followed her brother Joseph into Egypt. Because of the present-day political tensions, the authorities are not keen on Dina Z. making the trip or a film, but Sybil's friend Joseph, a diplomat and negotiator--you get the connection--and the Palestinian scholar, mystery man, and suspected terrorist Jamine Amouri, obtain permission, and both men accompany her there. The film is made, and Dina finds her Shechem--who, faithful to the original story, is her people's enemy as well as her great true love. Back home in New York a daughter is born. She too has her predecessor's name. Metzger skillfully interweaves the ancient story with the contemporary narrative, and creates vivid and recognizable characters. But while the reunion of long-ago lovers is an intriguing concept, too often the premise takes over, and the characters--like actors--have no choice but to follow directions.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Viking