THE STRING OF LIFE by Ervin Y. Kedar


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A young Jewish man joins an underground military organization in the aftermath of World War II and fights to save his people.

Shumke is a member of Palmach, a secret revolutionary group willing to fight and die in order to provide a safe haven for the Jews in Galilee. An intelligent, sensitive man, he has been pushed into violence by the atrocities committed by the Nazis against his people. Following the defeat of Hitler and the Axis powers, the Jews now face a new threat. In Jerusalem, they are caught between the British, who are clinging to the last remains of their empire, and “the Arabs,” who threaten to continue the ethnic cleansing. The Palmach stands in the middle of these two colossal forces, attempting to take a stand for Jewish freedom without losing their humanity along the way. The String of Life is organized as a series of loosely connected events that take place between 1945 and 1954. The narrative centers on Shumke, his girlfriend Havale and his good friend and fellow soldier Yehuda. Yet while the plot focuses on these individuals, it never loses sight of the overall themes of war and violence that bring this group together. Shumke’s love for Havale grows as the fighting becomes more desperate, with their relationship serving as a metaphor for the promise of future political stability. Although the book is based on historical fact, it is not an in-depth study of the time period or the complex sociopolitical factors leading to these events. In keeping with modern war fiction, such as A Farewell to Arms or The Things They Carried, the novella focuses on the internal struggles of those engaged in battle and does not attempt to deconstruct the larger phenomenon.

An intimate portrayal of war that, at times, devolves into sentimentality.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4196-2646-9
Program: Kirkus Indie
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