CROSSING THE BORDER by Kim Chernin

CROSSING THE BORDER

An Erotic Journey

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The author of Sex and Other Sacred Games (1989) and In My Mother's House (1983) gives a breathless account of a series of sexual encounters she experienced on an Israeli kibbutz in the early 1970's--of possible interest only to those who were there. Living in Berkeley with an eight-year-old daughter and a kind, generous man who goes otherwise unmentioned in this account, 31- year-old Chernin suffered periods of debilitating depression for which she could imagine only one cure--a trip to Israel, where she hoped to establish a place for herself on a border kibbutz. Arriving in a straw hat, low-cut yellow blouse, long skirt and hand-made leather sandals, Chernin steps onto the grounds of the small, experimental kibbutz--whose members number around 60 and are nearly all under 30 years old--determined to make a splash. She proves her worth the first night by washing the communal dinner dishes ``like magic.'' She then plows through a series of other jobs over the next few weeks while initiating an affair with a confused young man named Simon. Now, 20 years later, Kim Chernin (or Kim's survivor, as the author now describes herself, the original Kim having spiritually expired by now) attempts to piece together, through letters, telephone calls, and reunions with several of those who were present, what went wrong on the kibbutz. She uncovers a story of romantic deceit and intrigue revolving around an affair between Chernin and one of the kibbutz's most popular female members. Chernin's descriptions of lovesick young farm workers chasing one another round and round the grounds would have provided excellent grist for Shakespeare's comic mill, but the author, sadly, fails to see the humor. Instead, she reminisces sentimentally about those footloose days, wonders whether she could still attract her former male lover, broods briefly over her daughter's happiness, and, most passionately, searches for Kim Chernin, her long-lost inner child. Spare us.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-449-90522-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1994




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