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Daughters of Iraq

Daughters of Iraq [Kindle Edition]

Revital Shiri-Horowitz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Shiri-Horowitz tells the story with a light and loving touch. Her book, which is riveting and convincing, explores the connections between the past and the present, between the older women and their legacies to their children and grandchildren. --Prof. Lev Hakak UCLA

This gripping saga encompasses personal tragedies, hopes, dreams, illness, untimely deaths, unrequited love, unexpected love, family celebrations, and-of course- lots and lots of food. --At Magazine, 2007

Product Description

Daughters of Iraq is the compelling story of three women from the same family. It is the story of emigration from Iraq to Israel as experienced by two sisters: Violet, whom we learn about through a diary she kept after being diagnosed with a critical illness, and Farida, whose personality unfolds through her relationship with her surroundings, and with herself. The third character is Noa, Violet’s daughter and a student, a young woman in her twenties who is searching for meaning. Noa embarks on a spiritual quest to the past, so that she can learn how to build her life in the present and the future.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 333 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004U34YM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,972 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born and raised in Israel. As the oldest child of a family of three, I was the one who would daydream, I was the one who read like a bookworm, and I was the one who was so influenced by books, that I could act as if I were the main character in the book of real life for weeks...My father owned a small appliance shop and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Both my parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq in 1950, but met twelve years later and married. As a kid, I remember writing poetry and some short stories. I had a journal I wrote in almost every day since I was nine years old, and up to the time I met my husband, but never imagined that one day I would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.

I come from a very creative family. Three out of six of my uncles and aunt are published poets, and four of my cousins are well known musicians in Israel, so I don't really understand why I never thought of myself as a writer (probably because I just did not have the guts...).

In Israel, after I graduated from high school I went to the army. I volunteered for special service with an army unit based in Kibbutz Eilot, located next to the Red Sea port city of Eilat. In that unit I worked in the kibbutz at the laundry, with kids ages three and ten (and loved it!), and even in the kitchen and dining room. It was an experience I will never forget, and influenced me, since this was the first time in my life that I was actually independent and away from my family.

After army service of two and a half years I went to Tel Aviv University, where I studied Hebrew Literature and Geography. I loved studying, and this is the reason I hold two Master degrees in both subjects, and a teaching certificate. During my studies I met my husband-to-be, and we moved to London for a year.

The year we spent in London was quite a shock for me. As an Israeli, I was always following the news, checking to see if any catastrophe happened, living life on a very fast track. While in London, I learned that the "hot subject" was usually the cold weather and the rain. After a year we moved back to Israel and I went back to school. A year later we married and after another year I became a very proud mom to a beautiful boy. I was the happiest woman on earth when that happened. I felt that I achieved the most important thing in life - I gave life.

Two years passed and we moved to Washington State. I love this area very much, but as an Israeli, I never got used to the cold weather, so three years (and another boy) later, we moved back to Israel, this time for about three and a half years, and then with a third son returned to the US. During our stay in Israel earned a second degree in Hebrew Literature, where I focused on Women Studies. I remember taking a class that had a discussion on Jewish women in Arab countries. I remember how upset I was to learn about these women were forgotten, weak, and had lives that lacked meaning, while I knew how powerful the women in my family were back then in Iraq. I remember speaking about this with my aunt, and her suggesting that I can write the story of the women in our family.

Am I a writer? I wasn't very sure, but decided it was worth taking the risk. I started investigating, and taped my aunt, and decided to try and write a novel that would be based on my family's story. That would be my best chance to reach as many readers as possible, I thought. A character came to my mind, and she was based on a neighbor I once had, who used to be a very good friend of my mom. She was also a mix of my mom and aunts. But where is she located, I wondered, and what was she doing? In my imagination she was living in a small town, and she was for sure proudly cooking I thought, Iraqi dishes. You see, in our Iraqi Jewish family a mom feeds everyone. My mom is still the same way, and food has a central role in our life.

Then came the second character, the sister of this woman whom I named Farina. She was the family intellectual, and was writing the family story because she was sick with cancer. She wanted to leave it for her children to learn later in life about their roots and origin. I named her Violet, since in Iraq they used English names because the British had ruled for many years.

The third main character was Violet's daughter, Noa, a student in her twenties, trying to find her happiness and herself.

Writing this book took five years. Another boy was added to our family, and the book was first published in Israel. As we moved back and forth, my dream was to publish in English too, which I did.

I am now a mother of four boys, married to same husband for twenty years, writing more poetry, running a blog in "Haaretz", an Israeli newspaper, and working for the last three years on a second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving 22 Feb 2013
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"Daughters of Iraq" by Revital Shiri-Horowitz is a touching and informative read, the story of three women from the same family as they live as Jews in Iraq and Israel.
The story is told in alternating episodes jumping between three eras: Iraq in the 1940s and its seemingly happy Jewish community as it falls apart after the creation of Israel. Jews become the object of hate and most emigrate to Israel. Then life in Israel in the 1950s as the newcomers to the state realise they have lost their homes and some of their previous identity. And last life in Israel in the 1980s for the next generation.
The writing moved me with its melancholic tone and all characters are beautifully created and lovable.
the theme of migration and its effect on the women is very insightful and gave me a lot to think about. Jewish people of various national and cultural identities having to blend together, overcome language barriers and re-define themselves in a new society that has stripped them off their previous status.
This book is rich in so many ways, I can only recommend you pick it up and read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read 24 Oct 2012
By Sally
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Such a wonderful book and really refreshing to read about sephardi middle eastern jews instead of ashkenzi european jews. I was gutted when the book finished!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Threads Woven into a Beautiful Yarn 7 Sep 2012
This is a yarn weaved using three threads.

Violet's voice comes to life from the pages of her diary, and we can hear the change it undergoes: In the first chapter she is a young child growing up in Iraq, and her rebellious nature is endearing. Later in the story we hear her voice as she grows, becomes a mother, falls sick... Having been sent home from the hospital without chemotherapy, she doesn't bother to ask questions anymore, and instead, focuses on one goal: recording her story for the benefit of her children.

Noa's voice is told in the third person narrative, she lives a hurried, busy existence studying for an exam in Jewish philosophy, and torturing herself for never really getting to know her mother, violet, before she succumbed to cancer.

Farida, Violet's sister, is the third thread, the one that allows tying the knot between the two generations, Violet and her daughter Noa. Motherly and giving by nature, she considers how the diary would affect Noa, and when would be the right time to hand it over.

As we read, we begin to see the tapestry created with these threads, painting scenes from two different places, Iraq and Israel, illuminating cultural differences, local sights of palm trees, the Chidekel river, the aroma of orchards and the smell of the earch.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of how Isreal accepted all who came 8 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
As an American Jew I always believed that Israel was a country populated by European refugees from the Holocaust. But after a trip to Israel I learned that the majority of Israelis are actually from the Middle East. Unfortunately they are refugees kicked out of their homelands when the state of Israel declared independence. My niece married an Israeli and many members of his large extended families were those refugees. When a friend recommended Daughters of Iraq to me well I wanted to learn more about those gracious people that entertained us in their home with feasts like the ones described in this wonderful novel. The story is told from the perspective of Noa, Farida and Violet and we see how the two generations of women and their offspring adapted to a new and sometimes hard life in a foreign land. The stories are told with an honesty that sometimes makes your heart hurt. I highly recommend this novel, there is even a glossary of foreign words which adds so much to the flavor of the novel. I love to read a story that is informative and entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another culture . 3 July 2014
By Jenny
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent insight into the lives of the women , Jewish , born in Iraq . The changes in their lives and the way they coped generally with how life dealt their hand . Truly enjoyable . Abrupt ending , I found it left you in the air , but satisfactorily so .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read but a little depressing 19 Oct 2013
By Ruthied
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good and compelling read (although the English was a little odd in places), however, I found Violet's story rather depressing. The book seemed to end abruptly on somewhat of a cliff hanger and left me feeling dissatisfied and wanting to know more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing 12 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not sure what the story was about really and ending was abrupt . I liked the characters and felt I had connected with them.
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