Carlie Smith


Excellent, Young Adult, Boaz Yakin, Nick Bertozzi, Jerusalem, World War II, Family Problems, Communism, Terrorism, War, Jewish

Document Type

Book Review


The Halaby family is as dysfunctional as the city they live in -- 1940s Jerusalem. Each brother fights in his own way against colonizers: Mozzi, the youngest, rebels against his European teachers; Ezra joins a radical Jewish nationalist group; David fights in World War II; and Avraham becomes a communist. When the UN approves two-states in Palestine, the tensions between Arabs, Jews, Europeans, radicals, and moderates explode. The family is divided along these factions as well, and Ezra and Avraham become enemies. Simmering beneath the political tension is family strife: David goes missing but his unborn child and wife come to live with the Halabys, and the clan is locked in an economic battle with their cousins. Violence, bloodshed, and anger become the norm. The despair is solidified when, even after he makes an attempt at reconciliation, Mozzi’s efforts result in tragedy.