So, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. My new book is out. Hooray! So far it’s only available as an ebook, but the paperback version is in the pipeline and will be available soon, I hope.
It’s taken about two years to write, which is almost twice as long as each of my previous four books have taken, partly due to its length and partly to its complexity. Of course, there is also my own dithering about what to say and how to say it, about how far to go with the various strands of the narrative — how evil to make the bad character, how far to embroil the hero in the various machinations, and to what extent to involve the themes of Jews, Israelis, sex and anti-Semitism.
Yes, all those themes and more are in the book, along with a whole bunch of other ideas and situations that cropped up in the course of writing. Essentially, the book is based on my own experience of living in Nebraska for a year back in the 1980s, when my OH was employed at a university there. This involved uprooting our family from its environment and moving to a totally different culture and set of experiences.
At the time we had three children of varying ages, but in the book these have been whittled down to teenage twins who have a really hard time in the new place. They make their feelings known in no uncertain terms, both at home and at school. I found myself laughing and crying at some of the events they encountered and their reactions, whether real or imagined.
The wife of the chief protagonist who has docilely followed her man as he goes ahead with forging his career finds the climate and stultifying atmosphere of the Midwest a bit too much to bear and derives consolation in attending an evening art class. This leads to her having an affair with the art teacher. Of course, this part is complete fiction, and no such situation arose in real life. In fact, it was then that I attended a creative writing course, run by a very nice lady writer, and started to write seriously. For that I will be eternally grateful for the chance to take that break out from the routine of life in Israel.
The people of Nebraska were almost invariably warm and welcoming, though this cannot be said for the climate, which has its own role to play in the novel. However, the American Nazi Party happened to have its headquarters in the area, and this manifested itself primarily in letters and items in the local paper, though there were indications that more ominous developments could arise. Fortunately these never came to fruition. Current events in the USA indicate that these trends have not abated and may even be growing in strength.
Thus, my novel is a mixture of fact and fiction, and it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. What I earnestly hope is that I have created an interesting story with believable characters and a plot that will keep the reader laughing and crying and eager to find out what happens next.
The Kindle ebook is available on Amazon for only $2.99. so please do go ahead and buy a copy, and better still — write a nice review on Amazon.
Nina Rimon Davis said:
Congrats, Doro! Sounds interesting. Good luck!
shoshana caplan said:
kol hacavod Dorothea!
Chana Arnon said:
I am honored (yes, I am American as you can see!) to be the first one to comment on Dorothea’s new book, which isn’t so new anymore. I got it from her as a present a few months ago.
I have read the book and was very impressed. Dorothea obviously did a lot of researching in order to write the book. She not only used her personal experience of an Israeli family living with teenage children in a small university town in Midwest USA for one year , but also, in changing the biographical facts of her experience, she gives a wonderful description of paleontology researchers with both the marvels and the drawbacks of a field with which she was totally unfamiliar. This feat in itself gives the book a stamp of quality and to the reader an insight into an esoteric field (for me) of science which I found very enjoyable.
In addition, and of course this is the main focus of a novel at any time, the descriptions of mood changes of the characters and interpersonal relationships in a very complex human situation – of a family abroad lacking the familiar contextual support and guidance which they left behind – is very well done. Very subtly and insightfully, Shefer describes the small town, the university there and the department in which the husband of the family has to prove himself as an original researcher, the children have to manage their new school experiences and the poor wife has to deal with all of the above in addition to her own aspirations and how to make the most of a year abroad as an opportunity for new experiences or an ordeal. Or both.
I especially enjoyed – if that is the word – the description of the town in Nebraska which turned out to be a bastion of anti-Semitism and the national center of the Nazi party in the US. Little did I know, nor did the protagonists of the novel, that the rumors about the revival of the Nazi party are so tangibly present in some parts of the US.
The book is a web of events, both personal/psychological and environmental, sociologically and of a dramatic-natural aspect, which are woven into an intriguing plot. A real page turner, but really much more.