It is April 1946. Evelyn Sert, 20 years old, a hairdresser from Soho, sails for Palestine, where Jewish refugees and idealists are gathering from ...Show synopsisIt is April 1946. Evelyn Sert, 20 years old, a hairdresser from Soho, sails for Palestine, where Jewish refugees and idealists are gathering from across Europe to start a new life in a brand new country. In the glittering, cosmopolitan, Bauhaus city of Tel Aviv, anything seems possible - the new self, new Jew, new woman are all feasible. Evelyn, adept at disguises, reinvents herself as the bleached blonde Priscilla Jones. Immersed in a world of passionate idealism, she finds love, and with Johnny, her lover, finds herself at the heart of a very dangerous game.Hide synopsis
When I Lived in Modern Times (Thorndike Press) – Hardcover (2001)
Hardcover, Thorndike Press 2001
Large type / large print.
ISBN: 0786233966 ISBN-13: 9780786233960
April 1946. For a weary and exhausted Europe, it is time to begin picking up the pieces of the past. For Evelyn Sert, a young woman from London standing on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine, it is a time of adventure and change, when everything seems possible. This is one woman's story of discovery -- of herself, of her heritage, and of the land that would one day become Israel.April 1946. For a weary and exhausted Europe, it is time to begin picking up the pieces of the past. For Evelyn Sert, a young woman from London standing on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine, it is a time of adventure and change, when everything seems possible. This is one woman's story of discovery -- of herself, of her heritage, and of the land that would one day become Israel.Hide
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Description:Fine. 0786233966 0786233966 Amazon Review In April 1946, a 20...Fine. 0786233966 0786233966 Amazon Review In April 1946, a 20-year-old East End London hairdresser named Evelyn Sert sets out for Palestine. "This is my story, " she writes in When I Lived in Modern Times, which won Linda Grant the 2000 Orange Prize. "Scratch a Jew and you've got a story." Her account is no less complicated than that of any other displaced European Jew in the postwar years. Separated from her family, she searches for some kind of reliable identity in an inhospitable new land--and in shining, Bauhaus-influenced Tel Aviv, she finds that she is more English than Israeli. Lo and behold, she becomes Priscilla Jones, a peroxided Londoner with an absent policeman husband. She is at her most "real, " it seems, when pretending, and revels in her ability to be entirely accepted among the English women whose hair she cuts and curls. Outside of their petty and casually anti-Semitic circle, meanwhile, she struggles with Hebrew, the heat, the unfamiliar food, and an alien way of life. In Palestine, of course, the English are the enemy. Evelyn is soon drawn into a world of shifting identities, lies, and secrets by her passionate Zionist boyfriend, Johnny. Even then, she is never quite sure which side she is on, or where she belongs. All of this makes her a prototypical inhabitant of Linda Grant's Tel Aviv, a city of contradictions and of hope. More to the point, Grant's heroine is a fully believable figure, a chameleon of a kind readily recognizable to those of us who grew up as part of the seismic displacement of peoples that accompanied World War II--and, alas, to anyone who has been caught up in the more recent exoduses from Bosnia, Kosovo, and Albania. --Lisa Jardine--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Publishers Weekly An unsentimental, iconoclastic coming-of-age story of both a countryDIsraelDand a young immigrant, Grant's first novel introduces an unusually appealing heroine, narrator Evelyn Sert, and provides an unforgettable glimpse of a time and place rarely observed from an unsparing point of view. Na ve and idealistic, 20-year-old Evelyn, an incipient Zionist, leaves London for Palestine in April 1946 under false pretenses. Devoid of useful skills, she barely survives a stint on a kibbutz. Later, in Tel Aviv, she gets a job in a hairdressing salon, passing herself off as Priscilla Jones, the wife of a British soldier. To her neighbors she acknowledges that she's a Jew, but she's puzzled that she has more in common with the British colonials than with the motley collection of Jews from many lands and widely disparate religious, social and economic backgrounds, all of them busy reinventing themselves. After falling in love with a chameleon-like man she knows as Johnny, who impersonates a British army officer, she's not really surprised to find that he's a terrorist with the Irgun underground, working cold-bloodedly to end the British Mandate. Unwittingly, Evelyn gives Johnny information that results in violence. The quiet force of this astonishingly mature novel comes in watching Evelyn's simplistic worldview gradually give way to disillusionment as she becomes aware of the moral ambiguities and paradoxes on all sides. Readers will be struck by the timeliness of Grant's narrative, for she captures the excitement and danger of a volatile society and the desperate measures of a homeless people convinced that they must create a state. The implications of this cautionary tale keep unfolding even after the bittersweet denouement. It's no wonder that this novel won the 2000 Orange Prize, beating out Zadie Smith's White Teeth. (Feb. ) Forecast: The stark facts revealed in Tom Segev's One Palestine, Complete (Nonfiction Forecasts, Oct. 23) acquire a human face and a compelling voice in this fictional evocation of the period. The novel's relevance to current events provides a natural handle for booksellers, and Hollywood may see the potential in a story whose...
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