Tag Archives: Adina Hoffman

House of Windows – Adina Hoffman

House of Windows: Portraits From a Jerusalem Neighborhood

From the Publisher:

A brilliant and moving evocation of the rhythms of life (and the darker shadows below it) in a working-class quarter of the world’s most fascinating and divided city.
In the tradition of the literature of place perfected by such expatriate writers as M. F. K. Fisher and Isak Dinesen, Adina Hoffman’s House of Windows compellingly evokes Jerusalem through the prism of the neighborhood where she has lived for eight years since moving from the United States. In a series of interlocking sketches and intimate portraits of the inhabitants of Musrara, a neighborhood on the border of the western (Jewish) and eastern (Arab) sides of the city–a Sephardic grocer, an aging civil servant, a Palestinian gardener, a nosy mother of ten–Hoffman constructs an intimate view of Jerusalem life that will be a revelation to American readers bombarded with politics and headlines. By focusing on the day-to-day pace of existence in this close-knit community, she provides a rich, precise, and refreshingly honest portrait of a city often reduced to cliche–and takes in the larger question of identity and exile that haunts Jews and Palestinians alike.

My thoughts:

One of my favourite non-fiction books.  Beautiful language, captivating vignettes, vivid descriptions of places and people.  I really can rave and rave about this book.  I read one chapter from this book a while ago as required reading for one of my college lit classes.  I loved that chapter so much that I went and bought the book, but it took me a while to get to it.  This is not a book about the Arab-Israeli conflict.  It is not a book about Jerusalem.  And it is not a book about Adina Hoffman.  It’s a book about living and adapting to a foreign city and culture, and the steady rhythm of everyday live.  Lovely read.

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