My book, ‘The Balancing Game,’ has finally been published! This is a great moment for me. I’ve been writing, on and off, for most of my life, and even as a small child tried to write little stories, drawing on my imagination. Nothing came of them, of course, but later in life I began more in earnest. The key turning-point came when my family spent a year in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I attended a creative writing course at the local community college, under the tutelage of Katherine Kidwell, a Published Author, who tried to steer her motley crew of students towards writing lucidly and according to a tried and tested formula. This helped me to some extent, though of course formulaic writing was not for me.
But I persisted with my writing. The novel I wrote then still exists somewhere, in the form of a typescript, which I will one day retype into my computer, where it will join the other six or seven novels I have written over time, and which I hope to get published in the years to come.
But to return to ‘The Balancing Game,’ whose cover is displayed at the top of this post, and whose website is http://sbpra.com/DorotheaShefer-Vanson. It can be ordered from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and its ISBN number is 978-1-62212-846-4. I also hope to have it available as an ebook in the not-too-distant future. The book’s subtitle is ‘A Child Between Two Worlds, A Society Approaching War,’ and it describes the strange world of Naomi, a Jewish child living in London in the 1940s and 1950s. She is the daughter of orthodox Jews, refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and is unknowingly caught between the world of the Jewish family and the run-down, non-Jewish neighbourhood in which she lives. Her friendship with Jeannie, the little girl of her own age who lives next door, gives her an insight into the world of the English working class, and her life consists of trying to find her balance in this environment.
In addition, the book also describes the life of a young woman, Felicity, who is pregnant with her first child in Jerusalem in May and June 1967, the period of the build-up to the Six-Day War between Israel and the neighbouring Arab countries. The book describes the everyday life of Felicity and the people around her, and how the period of the preparation for the war, and the war itself, affects them. It also gives an account of the fraught relations between Felicity and her parents-in-law, as well as the complete severing of her relations with her own parents. The cover of the book is based on a watercolour painting I did in London some years ago.
The book ends with an account of the end of the Six-Day War, the birth of Felicity’s child and the experiences of the infant Naomi who is sent away to the countryside in the framework of the evacuation of children from London during the Blitz. The psychological insight into the mind of the infant Naomi sheds light on the character of the main protagonists.
I don’t want to give away too much, but those are the bare bones of the book. I hope lots of you will be interested enough to buy it. I think it should grant insights into the workings of the human mind in a defined period of recent history, as well as being of interest to anyone who is interested in Israel and its history, London in the period immediately after the Second World War, and the intricacies and enigmas of Jewish family life.
I hope above all that anyone who reads it finds it is worth the time and effort (and money) involved, and will recommend it to friends and family. I’m also looking forward to receiving feedback from readers, either to this blog or to my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org