Monday, June 2, 2014

Fields of Exile by Nora Gold

This was a great novel by a relatively new author.  Gold tackles a difficult subject in a balanced way without coming across as preachy.

Judith is a Canadian woman who moved to Israel and has been working there in a series of jobs.  Though she is not financially successful, and her father thinks she is also not socially successful since she remains single, she is very committed to the country.  She feels it is her home - though she is left leaning and demonstrates against many government policies in the territories.  Judith returns to Canada to be with her dying father and on his death bed promises to complete her MSW in Canada.

She enrols in the fictional Dunhill University.  There she quickly makes friends with both fellow students and a professor, Suzy.  Suzy appoints her to be co-chair of the school's anti-oppression committee and Judith's life begins to unravel when they invite a keynote speaker who favours violence against Israeli and Jewish civilians to further the cause of the Palestinians.  Judith's boyfriend encourages her to keep her head down and finish her degree quickly.  And she tries too...but eventually is faced with one too many demonstration and takes a stand.  She quickly learns who her real friends are and it all comes to head at an Anti-Oppression Day rally which has dire consequences for her.

The pace of the book is good, the writing is fluid and the characters are all interesting (whether they are likeable or not).  I highly recommend this book for a fictional account of very real issues.

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