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Checkpoint [Kindle Edition]

Lisa Saffron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description


More about the book - click here to go to my  blog. On the 2nd of October 2002, the Shapiro family’s comfortable life in an Israeli suburb is shattered by a tragedy that sets each member on a journey of self-discovery. Easy-going Yigal, a corporal in the Israeli Defence Force, forms an unexpected alliance with Aisha, a fiery Palestinian teenager while Yigal’s unquestioning mother, Ruth, reconnects with her estranged friend, Vivi, who passionately supports the Palestinian cause. David, Yigal’s father, deepens his relationship with zealous settlers in the occupied West Bank and Orli, Yigal’s younger sister, makes a decision about military service. Checkpoint  is the story of ordinary people living in a conflict zone, each struggling to make sense of a situation where it’s not clear who is the victim and who is the terrorist.

About the Author

Lisa Saffron was born in 1952 in the United States and grew up in a non-religious, Zionist-sympathising Jewish family. She moved to England in her twenties where she raised her family and worked in parenting support, health research and feminist women's health information. She belongs to a progressive synagogue and hosts a weekly programme on Radio Salaam Shalom, an internet radio station promoting Jewish-Muslim dialogue. Lisa has travelled to Israel and the Occupied Territories several times since her first visit in 1968 (click here for a description of her 2002 trip). Her latest trip with the Compassionate Listening delegation was the inspiration for Checkpoint. This is her first novel. She has published non-fiction books and an autobiographical article, "The Mezuzah" in For Generations: Jewish Motherhood, edited by Mandy Ross and Ronne Randall, Five Leaves Publications, 2005. Email

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 457 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (15 Feb 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006G4O0OQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #867,340 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review by Tony Benn 25 April 2008
Lisa Saffron's book is both moving and powerful. Human stories convey the horror and injustice better than factual books about the Palestinian tragedy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This excellent first novel authentically explores the motives and feelings behind the conflict in Israel and Palestine as portrayed in the lives and relationship of two American Jewish women and their families. Lisa Saffron has succeeded in presenting one of the world's most intractable and sensitive problems in a highly readable and accessible format. A subtle blend of flashback, narrative, fantasy and historical fact brings to life the reality of the occupation for Palestinians and Israelis.

The destructive consequences of Israel's occupation of Palestine on family life on `both sides of the checkpoint' makes, at times, harrowing reading. The author does not flinch from portraying the violence and heartbreak which accompany this conflict. However, the humour and sympathy she brings to the well-drawn and believable characters and situations invite the reader's understanding rather than judgement.

Political dysfunction and the denial of history are subtly echoed in the description of family dysfunction and the denial of feelings, the high price of which is brought home in Checkpoint. The emotional causes and consequences of the conflict are woven into both the narrative and the plot. Any reader unfamiliar with the reality of life in Israel-Palestine will be shown the surprising extent to which peoples' lives are intertwined and how the consequences of any action reverberate through psyches and relationships on a personal as well as a political level.

Checkpoint is highly recommended reading for anyone who enjoys a well-crafted novel, whether or not they have a prior interest in this issue or have already made up their minds about it . It makes challenging reading for those with fixed ideas of `Zionists' and `Islamists'. In the end the reader is left with a strong and moving reminder of the common humanity that binds us all and makes a mockery of the politics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checkpoint - Lisa Saffron 15 May 2008
By Sbyeger
CHECKPOINT by Lisa Saffron : Review.

CHECKPOINT, the impressive and highly original first novel by Lisa Saffron, cannot be called an easy read. The subject matter is often much too stark, too painful for comfort.

Through the distinct voices of its three central characters, it offers an uncompromising exploration of the tragic situation in Israel/Palestine.

Yigal, an Israeli soldier, is killed in a bomb attack. But that is only the beginning of his story. Once dead, he finds himself watching clouds at the Other World Checkpoint, bound forever in an extraordinary and touching
alliance with Aisha, the fiery and passionate Palestinian suicide bomber who brought about his death.Ruth, Yigal's mother, conventional Israeli housewife, driven half mad with grief, mourns him, and, in the process, embarks on an extraordinary inner journey, which will take her from unquestioning acceptance, to an emotional and shocking encounter with Leila, mother of the suicide bomber, in a Palestinian refugee camp.

Vivi, Ruth's friend, is an ardent and proactive advocate of the Palestinian cause, and, as such, poses a threat to David, Ruth's husband, whose unquestioning support of Israel leads him to behave with horrific and shocking violence to those who oppose him or challenge his viewpoint.

Also involved is Orli, Ruth's daughter, who, in the course of the story, comes alive to what is happening in her country, and becomes determined to take an active role in bringing about a more peaceful situation.

The story spans the years from 2002 to 2006.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read! 28 April 2008
Until reading this book I had, like many others, been horrified and somewhat confused by the bite-sized news flashes about the conflict in Palestine/Israel that I heard on Radio 4. I was horrified by the USA's support of Israel's ruthless attacks on Palestinians and confused about whose land it was anyway, both the areas occupied since 1967 and the boundaries of the state of Israel.

What appealed to me about Checkpoint is that it provides a bottom-up view of the conflict, a thought-provoking insight into how the bitter conflict between Israel and Palestine devastates the lives of all its citizens, families being torn apart by opposing beliefs and death.

It is also a touching story of friendship between women -an American Jewish lesbian passionately supporting the Palestinian cause, an American-born Israeli and a Palestinian woman. As with women living in areas of conflict around the world, they struggle to maintain and nurture their relationships, and thereby build bridges between communities.

The characters are convincing, and Ms Saffron's portrayal of the backdrop to this drama indicates her thorough research and compassionate involvement. The book should come with a warning - don't start reading until you have time to finish the book! The narrative is gripping.

I also liked the fact that the book is optimistic and, through examination of the feelings of the main characters, hints at the author's belief that there will, one day, be a resolution and that, above all, the people caught up in this bloody war want to live in peace.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of growing relationships - and how those relationships can tear a family apart 6 Jun 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is not simply a battle between two opposing countries - it's a conflict between two groups of people who are close enough- and are - neighbors. "Checkpoint" is a novel of growing relationships - and how those relationships can tear a family apart. The Shapiros are split by loyalties of friendship on both sides of the cause, and must figure out a way to remain a family all while staying loyal to their friends in this deftly written look at the conflict from the fictional perspective of a family torn asunder - "Checkpoint" is highly recommended to community library collections dedicated to world fiction and fiction focusing on current events.
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