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A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Hardcover – Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599902001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599902005
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.9 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea From the author of the Batchelder Honor Book "When I Was a Soldier" comes a unique perspective on the conflict in the Middle East. This compelling novel is told through the correspondence of a young woman from Israel and a young man from Gaza in Palestine.

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By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
After a nearby bombing that leaves Tal Levine, a girl desperate for peace in her Israel home, shellshocked and numb, Tal is desperate to reach out to a Palestinian, hoping for proof that they are not all heartless killers. So she writes a message in a bottle and tosses it into the Gaza Sea.

When Naim finds the bottle and its message, he becomes angry. He emails Tal, and slowly the two form an understanding of each other's lives.

But when tragedy strikes again, will their relationship survive?

A BOTTLE IN THE GAZA SEA is an intense, powerful, and eye-opening experience. Zenati doesn't seem to hold back in her descriptions of the turbulence-ridden Middle East and how deep the animosity runs. But hers is also a novel of hope and understanding as two teenagers, the next generation, come together to forge an unforgettable bond.

This is a galvanizing read that will definitely make you think.

Reviewed by: The Compulsive Reader
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By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Feb 2013
Format: Hardcover
I recently saw the movie "A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" at the Jewish and Israeli Film Festival in Cincinnati. I'm surprised that the movie is not listed here, so let me post my thoughts on it here under the book based on which this movie was made.

"A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" (2011 release from France/Israel; 99 min.) brings the story of the 17 yr. old French-Jewish girl Tal whose family moved from Paris to Jerusalem. Tal is frustrated by the thread of violence from the Gaza Strip and throws a bottle in the sea, hoping someone in Gaza will get it and respond to her invitation to correspond with her via email. A group of young men in Gaza in fact do find the bottle, and 20 yr. old Naim emails her. After initial suspiscion between the two, a fragile friendship develops, and Naim takes up French at the Gaza French Cultural Center, with the hope of eventually getting a scholarship to study in France. Meanwhile Tal's brother Eytan serves in the Israeli Defense Force and is posted at/near the Gaza Strip. Will Eyran come in harm's way? Will Naim get the opportunity to study in France? Will Tal and Naim meet in person? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, this movie is a prime example showcasing that behind all politics there are people, real human beings with real feelings. While Tal and Naim email back and forth in the beginning, they mistrust each other but eeventually theu learn that on the other side there is a real person who probably has little influence over how politics are decided.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book which I highly recommend. Set in Israel and Gaza the story revolves around two young people - a jewish girl and an arab boy - who correspond via the internet after she asks her soldier brother to throw a bottle in the Gaza Sea with a message. A beautiful, moving and painful insight into the Middle East conflict. I highly recommend it. I have seen the film version of this novel and hope very much that it will be available here in the UK.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Living with sudden loss as a condition of humanity defines two lives differently 14 Feb 2013
By Sam Wazan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As the author of The Last Moderate Muslim, a peace activist, and one who lived inside West Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, I ask you to not consume yourselves with taking inventory of sound bites and chapter length to reconcile even-handedness. You will miss the powerful themes embedded in the storyline(s). In my mind, the story points a finger at planet Peace. Some might busy themselves looking at the finger. They will question the intent or narrative. They will miss taking the journey of humanity to reach that planet.

The story satisfies the need for expressing the Palestinians' way of life more so than has been done in rhetoric (words) and violence (actions) to-date. It addresses the fears that Israelis are experiencing as well.

I found myself in the story, since I experienced similar and parallel living conditions and encounters. At times, I was on the brink of tears.

Both Naim and Tai lived in a world circumscribed to them differently. Tai's world was defined by fear while living in the open. She feared bus rides. She avoided a café, where once others were killed. She didn't know when her turn will be up, and didn't accept it as a way of life. She grew paranoid. She became lonely among family and friends. On the other hand, her friend was indifferent; Like most, her friend marched where blood was spilled before. Not her! She was sensitive, but not weak. She resisted getting habituated on those terms.

Tai demanded privacy at her computer, when Naim sought one in the bathroom. She didn't see right or wrong; us or them; kill or be killed. At first, Naim did. She saw her world diminishing with every act of violence on both sides. She unsubscribed to the wisdom of her parents, but didn't approve or sympathize with Naim or the Palestinians. She confronted her brother in the restaurant by asking, "Did you kill ..." She rejected her brother's responses directly and Naim's without severing the connection that she valued. Like her parents, she accepted sudden loss of her brother and people around her as a condition of humanity.

Naims' world was defined geographically. He accepted the lesser world, in which he lived, as normal. He knew something was out there, but like his friends and adults around him, they talked big but had little plans and no access. When he first met Tai, his humor was odd--it is accurately depicted. He was cynical. He called Tai naive when she talked about peace. Those entrenched in the daily struggles for survival are prone to do so. Not Tai! Not Naim later!

Naim's beating and inhumane interrogation is regrettably accurate. His expectations of a female connecting with him in Gaza was unimaginable. To experience romance and intimacy, his cousin had to get married. His feelings for Tai breathed life into his ambitions. He began to see color. His hopes for meeting her and experiencing a bond with a soft voice, he once called naïve, motivated him to seek a better life. It stiffened his spine. He confronted his uncle, sought higher education, and pursued civility, after he was deadened by living in confined space with mounds of filthy garbage around corners. Tai's presence in his life, that ounce of romance have his life took a new meaning. Thoughts of peace entered his mind because they injected hope for being with Tali. Thematically speaking, love flourishes in peace.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea 22 Sep 2008
By Jewish Book World Magazine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Valerie Zenatti's moving novel, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, translated by Adriana Hunter, depicts the unlikely correspondence and growing connection between Tal, a 16 year old Israeli girl and Naim, a twenty year old Palestinian young man. The story begins following a bombing in Tal's neighborhood. A young woman is killed on the eve of her wedding. Tal is shaken and moved to write down her thoughts. She has the overwhelming urge to share her ideas with a Palestinian. She asks her brother, Eyton, to throw the letter, stuffed into a bottle, into the Gaza Sea. Naim, or Gazaman, as he refers to himself, finds her letter and responds with an email.
Their letters are sincere, defensive, and concerned. Both Tal and Naim yearn to be heard; they want recognition. Through their letters as well as sections of authentic narrative and interior monologue, the reader feels their growing friendship and love. Although their points of view are opposite, they do indeed have much in common. In every word, the yearning for peace and understanding glow. The end result: a stunning and frank conversation. This novel should serve as a discussion point for young people who are tired of politics as usual. Like the film, Broken Promises, the story invokes utter despair as well as hope that young people hold the promise of peace. As Tal tells Naim, "I feel as if we're caught in a labyrinth and no one can find the way out, everyone's losing their temper and smashing everything in their efforts to get out into the fresh air." And as Naim tells Tal, "I mostly have dreams." The cover reads, "Love is like War...Easy to begin but hard to stop." But A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is about more than love. It is also about hope and fear, and will stay with the reader for a long time. Ages 12 and up. Reviewed by Sara Aronson
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
poweful read, brings flesh and bone to conflict 1 July 2008
By Bethany L. Canfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Far removed from the conflict in the Middle East it is easy to live day by day not thinking of the dangerous situation that mothers, fathers, children and grandparents live through daily in many places on the other side of the ocean. It is easy to forget the freedoms women don't have, the childless babies and the violence. However in my drive to feel more, to know more and keep all peoples close to me. I believe education defies prejudice and so I read on.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is a book of two hopefuls in a sea of killing, prejudice, and a tradition of violence between the Palestinians and the jews, from Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. Tal, a teen from Jerusalem wills to find peace, and longs for a glint of hope, of life from the other side. She puts a letter in a bottle and asks her brother, who is a soldier to put it in the Gaza Sea. Naim, is what comes of it, a bright Palestinian teen topped off with sarcasm. They email back and forth. Facades are broken down, lies made to truths, and through their friendship hope comes to them and those around them.

I genuinely enjoyed reading A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, Zenatti did an excellent job with the writing and the content of the book. The characters are fully believable, lovable and unforgettable. I hesitate to mention that this is designed as a young adult read, and that because of that you would steer clear, feeling that maturity and wisdom would most likely be lacking. I can promise you that those assumptions are wrong. The young Tal and her Gaza friend, Naim are young in age, but it is easy to be captivated by them, as they both portray the losses of their peoples at the hands of each others people. I was involved, interested and Zenatti spoke to me. I highly recommend this book, it gives all the emotion without the descriptions of blood and guts ( but does not hide that that is everywhere). A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is a realistic hope for peace, a dream of a future life of freedom, no matter how many generations the war has already gone on for.


The two of us don't have much luck: we were born in the twentieth century- the bloodiest century in history, as Rosebush reminded us yet again yesterday.: Two world wars, the Soviet empire dominating part of the world +conflicts pretty much all over the place with increasingly sophisticated weapons= hundreds of millions of deaths. 'It's just maths,' he added with an almost sadistic smile (p. 34).

'We choose none of the things that determine out lives: not the way we look or where we're born or our parents. None of them. We just have to cope with all the things we haven't chosen and which make us who we are.' My father told me that last year, when I was having trouble with just being me (p. 132).
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Humanizing the conflict email style 6 May 2008
By KDB English Teacher -- - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This very quick read tells the story of Tal and Naim, two people who should be enemies since one is Palestinian and the other Israeli with the Gaza wall separating their lives and their experiences. One day, after a horrific terrorist attack on a nearby cafe, Tal decides that the only way she can deal with the pain is to reach out to someone on the other side. She needs to know that they are not all heartless. As such, Tal puts a message in a champagne bottle and enlists her brother (who is in the Israeli guard) to drop the bottle somewhere on the other side of the wall, preferably in the Gaza Sea.

What ensues as a result of this action is the crux of this very short and enjoyable read. Naim, who first identifies himself only as Gazaman, is the recipient of this letter. He is able to read Hebrew and emails back to Tal. Over the course of a few months, Tal and Naim get to know each other and what life is like on the other side. Eventually they even manage an IM conversation. Then, when Tal is out filming scenes of every day life, she happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, filming a bus as it comes to a stop and then explodes. Another terrorist attack but this time, Tal is an eyewitness.

Can the friendship she has formed with this stranger help her through the trauma? Will she be able to find a way to be whole once more? All of these questions are answered, leaving the reader hoping that the lives of Tal and Naim will meet again in a better place and time, as hinted at by the end of the story.

I definitely recommend this book to young adults or adults alike who hope for peace just as much as the young protagonist. It's also a great way to learn some history in a easy format. The message of hope is uplifting.
A Modern Romeo and Juliet story set in Israel and the Gaza Strip 8 Aug 2014
By Jacquelyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, a well-written easy to read young adult book, shares the correspondence between an Israeli girl, 18, and a Palestinian boy, 20. The writing looked simplistic and I didn't think I'd get into it, but this is a winning young adult book with the smarts of John Green, told with the realism of someone familiar with life in Israel, which the author is having moved there when she was 13.

Both guy and girl are smart and fall for each other reluctantly. The romance swings back and forth with boy making fun of girl, girl sending out multiple desperate pleas, eventually provoking boy. The two end up engaging in banter on politics and history. Said politics and life keep them apart for a while. Things heat up (momentarily) when they chat online and then the story ends somewhat abruptly with a dramatic revelation that forces the reader to re-assess everything that's just happened.

This would be a great book for a literature circle and teens (girls probably) of average or even low reading ability, who are at all heterosexual, will get into this book.

Valerie Zenatti is a talented YA writer who knows how to create realistic characters, pull her readers in, and up the stakes as the story moves along. I will definitely take a look at her other book, When I was a Soldier.
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