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4.1 out of 5 stars
11
The Dove Flyer
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£5.03


on 30 August 2010
There has been a slew of books recently, some immensely powerful and moving, about the effects of the establishment of the State of Israel on the native Palestinian population, the expulsions, demolitions and terror that saw many of them leave as refugees, never to return. Far fewer books have been written from the opposite perspective, of the effect on the Jews of Arab lands of the creation of the Jewish State, and the specific and terrible way in which it affected their lives and sent them from countries their ancestors had inhabited for thousands of years to a new land with which many of them had very little in common.
The Dove Flyer tells the story in microcosm of the fate of Iraqi Jewry at this time, and an unforgettable story it is too. The main protagonists all live in the `new' Jewish quarter of Baghdad to which they have been forced to move for their own protection after the terrible Farhood riots. The narrator is Kabi, whose father is a settled and established Jewish Iraqi, thoroughly acculturated and at home in the Muslim milieu; he will have no truck with the Zionists who are already organising within the Jewish community and drawing the unwelcome attention of the secret police...at least until his brother Hizkel, a Zionist, is arrested and taken off to prison to await trial and a possible death sentence.
As the family, their friends, neighbours and enemies come to terms with what has occurred, the ground gradually shifts beneath them all, causing new friendships to develop and old ones to break.
Eli Amir weaves a rich tapestry of Iraqi Jewish life, and the effects of events beyond their control on ordinary and extra-ordinary human beings alike.
This is a magnificent novel, as well as being beautifully written, and it acts as a powerful reminder that when the State of Israel was established, and became an almost God-given haven for the persecuted Jews of Europe, it also had a terrible effect on the Jews of the Middle East for whom a Jewish state was an alien concept and who were - albeit with many compromises - quite comfortable where they were and had been for centuries.
The Dove Flyer is not a book to miss.
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I found this novel both thought provoking and informative and I learned a lot more about the Jewish situation in Baghdad during this time in it‘s history. The novel made me stop and think a lot about how we define home and belonging and I rather felt that this was the main theme of the novel and was dealt with extremely well.

[...]
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on 20 March 2014
A super and insightful personal account. A great piece of social micro-history. A very moving story and a very funny book.
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on 6 February 2014
I quite enjoyed this book. It was obviously a true account of life in Iraq just after WW11. The book was an interesting read a world of difference from my usual pleasure reading genre. I felt a little cheated regarding the ending. I wanted the loose ends tied up for good or ill. The writer was obviously an intelligent person but lacked the differentiation between the UK and England. Which as a patriotic Scot grated on me. He made a reference to our national tipple from England but manufactured by their northern neighbours. He couldn't bring himself to say the Scots.
Having visited Israel on a number of occasions, I know his idea of 'paradise' is not everyone's summation.
The book was worth three stars: no more.
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on 23 January 2014
A fascinating story of the aftermath of World War 2 recounting the struggles in Iraq of a Jewish Family. The narrator is a teenage boy coming to terms with his own and families trials..His own sexual awareness parallels the emergence of Israel as a country.
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on 11 May 2015
Brilliant evocation of the precariousness of Jewish life in Iraq during the early days of the establishment of Israel. As was later seen in the Balkans, people who had lived side by side in friendship for generations were suddenly torn apart.
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on 9 February 2014
I liked the book overall, but you really needed to concentrate because of the unfamiliar names. Otherwise the story was good!
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on 6 February 2014
A story drawn on factual observation of life in Bhagdad. Interesting but for me a bit pedestrian in some parts.
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on 7 February 2016
Really enjoyed this. Well written, interesting and well-rounded characters.
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on 23 February 2014
I did read it all, but I wanted to strangle the father of the household. No sense of reality at all.
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