Here’s a quote from the review:
“Reminiscent of the inner-wounded, circumstantially doomed protagonists of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms… The Best Place on Earth is a book to begin an informed discussion of the social differences between middle east and modern west, a well-crafted literary snapshot of love relationships amid shellfire and suicide bomb, and a frequent challenge to one’s moral sense of what is and what should be. Having made a home in such disparate locales as Toronto, Tel Aviv and Vancouver — the title refers to the B.C. licence plate motto — Tsabari emerges as a writer to show a new way to look at the world amid the confluence of love and death, sex and survival.”
A couple of other great reviews have appeared in the blogsphere recently.
Kerry Clare, of the excellent literary blog Pickle Me This, (also an editor at 49th Shelf and a talented essayist), read The Best Place On Earth and wrote kind things about it here. The review begins with these words: “‘Can this writer ever write,’ was my response when I read Ayelet Tsabari’s guest posts at The Afterword last month.” She goes on to say: “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” was the song I had running through my head as I read these stories, particularly the line, “One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall. Next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all.” I absolutely love that line!
And let me indulge in one more quote:
“Tsabari is excellent at atmosphere and representing a very real sense of place. The great writing I noticed in her non-fiction comes through here as well–my favourite passage was a fabulously rendered awkward sex scene in which a girl’s older, more experienced lover attempts cunnilingus as she is seriously preoccupied with other things (“Stop thinking.”). … I appreciated the stories about older characters the most, felt that these characters were represented with more depth and complexity, and that these were the stories that pushed the limits of their form, were not just well-rendered realism but were also about story itself.”
“The stories are fierce, startlingly emotional, and teeming with sexual energy, but they are also deeply empathetic, quietly political, and brilliantly executed… These are stories that need to be read, reread, shared, and experienced.”
The reviewer, Aaron Kreuter, ends on this note:
“According to the author bio in the hardcover edition, Tsabari is now at work on a novel. Hopefully, this does not mean that the author is leaving the short story form behind, as her talents for concision, dialogue, and the ability to quickly set up complex emotional situations are perfectly suited to the short story format. But if this is the end of Tsabari’s short-story-writing career, at least we have these 11 stories to keep coming back to.”
Okay, this nearly made me cry!
I feel so lucky to have readers and fellow writers put such thought and heart into reading and reviewing the book. Back when the book was nothing more than a bunch of messy Word files on my computer, it was this kind of feedback and dialogue that I dreamt about. I’m grateful and humbled.