“The People of Forever Are Not Afraid” New book by an Israeli author

Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 by Webmaster

“The People of Forever Are Not Afraid” New book by an Israeli author
There is a chance that the most talked about author of the year will be Shani Boianjiu, even if we’re not talking about her for literary reasons. The debut novel, written in English, of 25-year-old Boianjiu from Kfar Vradim was published in the United States and Canada by Hogarth Press, part of Random House, one of the publishing world’s biggest names. At a book fair in Frankfurt, the book was sold for translation in 22 countries. Even before it was published, the National Book Foundation declared Boianjiu one of the “5 under 35” most promising fiction writers on the recommendation of author Nicole Krauss. This year, we will see if the promise is fulfilled.

The story Boianjiu tells is very Israeli and very familiar. Her book, "The People of Forever Are Not Afraid," is the coming-of-age story of three teenage girls – Avishag, Yael and Lea – who went to the same high school and are about to begin their army service, where they will experience what all Israelis of that age do. The book portrays the excruciatingly slow passing of time, the boredom, the day-to-day violence that we are so capable of pushing into the background as we live completely ordinary lives – everything that is so routine for Israelis but seems bizarre, even surreal, to outsiders.

Why did Boianjiu write the book in English? Because she went to Harvard after the army and was required to write a collection of short stories for a final project.  Her teacher sent the stories to literary agents, who soon contacted her. One was Andrew Wylie, who quickly signed a contract with Boianjui, the Cinderella of Kfar Vradim. The publisher's public relations department built up expectations for the novel, and the press anxiously waited.

"Shani Boianjiu has found a way to expose the effects of war and national doctrine on the lives of young Israelis," Krauss, Boianjiu's mentor, wrote. "So her subject is serious, but lest I make her work sound in any way heavy let me point out how funny she is, how disarming and full of life. Even when she is writing about death, Boianjiu is more full of life than any young writer I've come across in a long time."

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